Emmanuel Macron’s defeat of Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election on Sunday was a victory for moderation over extremism. But despite the collective sigh of relief from the EU and many in the West, Macron’s work is just beginning and the road ahead is filled with obstacles.
“Many of our compatriots voted for me not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the extreme right. I want to thank them and I know that I have a duty towards them in the years to come,” Macron said.
Macron’s second-round campaign was carried by moderate left-wing voters, who wanted to prevent a Le Pen presidency. Marine Le Pen is widely seen as stigmatizing immigrants and religious minorities, all while opposing the European Union. Those voters made him one of the few French presidents to win a second term, but his margin of victory—58 percent to 41 percent—was not overwhelming and the abstention rate of 28 percent was the highest since 1969.
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