Macron pledges to be 'president of all of us' after resounding election victory

24 April 2022, 19:02 | Updated: 25 April 2022, 13:08

Emmanuel Macron has defeated Marine Le Pen in the French election
Emmanuel Macron has defeated Marine Le Pen in the French election. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Emmanuel Macron will win a second term as French president after exit polls showed he is set to defeat far-right rival Marine Le Pen by a clear margin.

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The projected result shows the centrist incumbent getting 58% of the votes compared with Ms Le Pen's 42%.

It makes him the first French president in 20 years to win a second term.

Mr Macron's supporters at the foot of the Eiffel Tower cheered when the projection was announced.

He later said a simple "thank you" and praised the majority who gave him five more years at the helm of France.

READ MORE: Macron Vs Le Pen: Battle reaches peak as France votes for next president

READ MORE: Macron vows to 'block off the far-Right' in French presidential battle with Le Pen

He thanked people who voted for him not because they embrace his ideas but because they wanted to reject Ms Le Pen.

"I'm not the candidate of one camp anymore, but the president of all of us," he said.

But his re-election was greeted with protests as riot police responded to unrest in Paris, while other cities like Toulouse and Lyon saw demonstrations.

Bins were set on fire in Rennes and monuments were graffitied.

And tragedy struck when police shot two people in a car at Pont-Neuf, in the centre of the capital, apparently because it was being driven erratically. One woman was taken to injured and there was no suggestion the incident was either linked to the election or terror.

He arrived on the plaza where his supporters gathered to the sound of the Ode to Joy, the European Union's anthem, hand in hand with his wife, Brigitte.

Ms Le Pen, who took 34% of the vote in 2017 when the pair were also front-runners, conceded defeat in an earlier speech.

However, she told her supporters the projected loss was "a shining victory in itself", adding "the ideas we represent are reaching summits" and vowing to "continue my commitment to the French people".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Mr Macron on Twitter, posting: "France is one of our closest and most important allies.

"I am happy to continue to work together on key issues for our two countries and for the world."

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel were also among the first leaders to congratulate him.

"I look forward to continuing our excellent cooperation," Ms von der Leyen wrote. "Together, we will move France and Europe forward."

Mr Michel added: "In this turbulent period, we need a solid Europe and a France totally committed to a more sovereign and more strategic European Union."

Both candidates had been trying to pick up the 7.7 million votes of leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was defeated in the first round on April 10, in the final weeks of campaigning.

Polling stations opened at 8am local time on Sunday and closed in most places at 7pm - aside from big cities that kept stations open until 8pm.

Mr Macron had asked voters to trust him for a second five-year term despite a presidency troubled by protests, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Le Pen's support in France's electorate grew during this campaign to her highest level ever.

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