Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election on Sunday by what is expected to be a huge margin, as leaders in France and beyond hailed it as a victory for the European Union.
Paris (dpa) - He won with between 65 and 66 per cent of the vote, projections published by multiple French media showed.
Macron, 39, easily beat far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen after a bitter contest pitting his pro-EU liberal platform against her calls for France to close its borders and pull out of the euro single currency.
Emmanuel Macron won with between 65 and 66 per cent of the vote, projections published by multiple French media showed.
He will be the youngest ever president of France, and the first in over a century to be elected by popular vote without the backing of an established political party.
Macron supporters gathered for a rally in the courtyard of Paris‘ Louvre museum cheered wildly as the results came through moments after polls closed at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).
Le Pen quickly conceded victory and said she had called Macron to congratulate him.
"The French have chosen a new president of the republic, and have voted for continuity," she told a rally of voters in eastern Paris.
She made it clear, however, that she now saw herself as the leader of the opposition.
"This second round has set up a great realignment of French politics around the cleavage between patriots and globalizers," Le Pen, who has slammed Macron as a proponent of "savage globalization," said.
Macron was himself expected to make a statement soon.
President Francois Hollande, under whom Macron served as economy minister for two years, congratulated him more whole-heartedly.
"His broad victory confirms that a very large majority of our fellow-citizens wanted to rally around the values of the Republic and express their attachment to the European Union and to a France that is open to the world," the outgoing head of state said.
Plaudits also came from Europe, where Le Pen‘s mounting popularity over the past few months has been viewed with alarm.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated president-elect Emmanuel Macron in a letter he posted on Twitter.
"Happy that the French chose a European future," he wrote.
Emmanuel Macron‘s presidential win is a "victory for a strong, unified Europe and for the Franco-German friendship," German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter.
Macron was heavily favoured to win the vote after the first round on April 23 pitted him against the National Front leader, with centre-right and centre-left politicians all backing him.
The last days of the campaign were marked by an insult-laden debate in which Le Pen proved shaky on facts, cementing Macron‘s advantage.
The final hours of campaigning on Friday night saw a huge leak of emails and documents from the Macron campaign, which denounced a "massive and coordinated" hacking attack.
News agency AFP reported that prosecutors had launched an investigation.
Macron now faces the challenge of winning a parliamentary majority for his year-old En Marche! movement.
Turnout was expected to slightly down on previous polls, as many voters found the choice between Macron‘s pro-business, socially liberal programme and Le Pen‘s hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration stance unpalatable.
Macron will formally take over from Hollande on or before May 14.
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