The 39-year old Centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron is set to become France’s youngest President after defeating far-right opposition candidate Marine Le Pen in a closely fought election. Former finance minister of the country, Macron, never held elected office before. Here is everything you need to know about France’s new President-elect:
Born on 21 December 1977 in the city of Amiens in Northern France to a family of doctors, Macron decided to stray away from a career in medicine, becoming the only one from his family to do so. He went on to study philosophy at Nanterre University. Later he studied in two of the most reputed colleges in the country, Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po) and École nationale d’administration (ENA), before starting a career in investment banking at Rotschild & Cie. in 2012.
Macron, who will replace Francois Hollande to take the reigns of presidency, quit his career as an investment banker to work as Hollande’s economic minister. He worked for the socialist government for two years, but then revolted by starting his own political movement, ‘En Marche’. During his time as finance minister, Macron caught the eye of opposition with his promotion of measures allowing more stores to open on Sundays and opening up regulated sectors of the economy. He was accused of destroying worker’s protection. While launching his political movement, Macron promised to shake up the political landscape in the country.
Throughout his Presidential campaign, Macron was supported by his wife Brigitte Macron, who is 24 years older to him. At 63, Brigitte helped her husband in preparing his speeches and stood tall alongside him at every public event. The couple have made the story of their unusual romance public. Macron met Brigitte when he was a student in Amiens. Brigitte, a mother of three at the time, was also the supervisor of the drama club of which he was a part of.
“We called each other all the time. We spent hours on the phone, hours and hours… Little by little, he overcame all my resistances in an unbelievable way, with patience,” Brigitte said in a televised documentary. The couple eventually got married in 2007 after she moved to Paris with him.
Macron has painted himself as “neither of the Left or the Right” and has constantly maintained he stands for “France”. After winning the elections, Macron vowed he will work to “rebuild the relationship between Europe and the people that make it.” In his book Revolution, Macron described himself as both “Left-wing” and a “liberal”, and has mostly stayed on the Left side of social issues. A strong advocate of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit, Macron, throughout his election campaign stressed on the benefits one can reap of globalisation. He also spoke against protectionist policies advocated by his far right opponent Le Pen.
France has seen a surge in terror attacks in last few years. To tackle the threat, Macron has pledged he will boost police, military forces and intelligence services in the country. He has also stressed on the threat posed by online extremism and has vowed he will put pressure on internet giants to better monitor cyber space for genuine threats.
Macron also focused on improving the security throughout Europe and wants the EU to deploy 5,000 border guards at external borders of the bloc’s passport-free travel zone. He is a supporter of European Union, and encouraged his supporters to wave European Union flag at his political rallies.
(With inputs from AP, AFP)