Just in: France elects Emmanuel Macron, youngest president since Napoleon

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[France]–Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday with a business-friendly vision of European integration, resoundingly defeating Marine Le Pen, the far-right nationalist who threatened to pull out of the European Union.

Aljazeera reports that Macron – the 39-year-old former investment banker, who served for two years as economy minister but has never previously held elected office – will now become France’s youngest leader since Napoleon with a promise to transcend outdated left-right divisions.

Three projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 8pm (1800GMT), showed Macron beating Le Pen by about 65 percent to 35 – a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.

“A new page in our long history has turned tonight,” said Macron in a brief address to the press after the results were announced.

“What has been accomplished has no precedent or equivalent, he says. People said it was impossible. Thank you for the efforts, and the risks some people took. I take full measure of the honour.

“I want it to be that of rediscovery of hope and trust.”

He promised to “fight the divisions that undermine France” and to “rebuild the links between Europe and its citizens”.

He says he is aware he has not been given a blank cheque by those who voted for him simply to keep out the extremist parties. He says he will stand by his engagement to protect France.

It was further reported that he only just launched his political movement a year ago, and so many people at the time said he was too young, “that he had no political experience … and here he is, one year on, France’s youngest president.

Marine Le Pen, in a speech conceding defeat to Emmanuel Macron earlier this evening has hailed a “historic” score for the Front National and promise to “transform” the party – which most people are taking to mean renaming it – to become the “main force of opposition” to Macron, The Guardian reported.

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