In his unorthodox private life and short political career, France’s new president Emmanuel Macron has battled conventions and broken with traditions.
The 39-year-old son of two doctors from the northeastern city of Amiens — set to be the youngest president in French history — breaks the mold of a traditional French leader, apart from his elite education in some of the country’s best universities.
Firstly, he is married to his former teacher, glamorous 64-year-old Brigitte Trogneux, a divorced mother of three children whom he fell in love with as a schoolboy.
He has also charted one of the most unlikely paths to the presidency in modern history, from virtual unknown three years ago to leader with no established political party behind him.
Others saw the ambitious former investment banker, who was then economy minister in Socialist President Francois Hollande’s government, as too young and too inexperienced to have serious presidential ambitions.
Few apart from his loyal core of advisers believed that he had the ability to triumph in 2017 at the age of 39, a year younger than Napoleon Bonaparte when he took power in 1804.
But Macron pressed on, using his image as a dynamic young modernizer to draw in thousands of volunteers to En Marche, which was modeled partly on the grassroots movement of ex-US president Barack Obama in 2008.
After resigning from his job as economy minister in August, he set about writing his pre-election book “Revolution” and then finally declared he was running for president on November 16.
“He’s been lucky,” veteran political journalist Anne Fulda, who wrote a recent biography called “Emmanuel Macron, Such a Perfect Young Man,” told AFP. “That’s something that helped him considerably. The stars aligned.”
With frustration at France’s political class running high, Macron was able to tap into a desire for wholesale change that also propelled his far-right rival Marine Le Pen into Sunday’s run-off vote.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said it was a “victory for a strong and united Europe”, while EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said French voters had chosen a “European future.”
Pro-EU independent centrist Emmanuel Macron stormed to victory in the French presidential election on Sunday, roundly defeating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote.
At a victory party outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, Macron supporters roared with delight at the news, waving red, white and blue tricolor flags. The jubilant crowd swelled to thousands as the night wore on.
“The French people refused the politics of hate and voted to uphold our shared values of liberte, egalite, and fraternite,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has congratulated Emmanuel Macron, tweeting in French “vive la France, Vive L’Europe!” or “Long live France, long live Europe!”
Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, also has tweeted in French “felicitations,” or congratulations. He says it’s “a victory for a strong and united Europe.”
“Happy that the French chose a European future,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter.
EU Council President Donald Tusk also offered his congratulations, saying the French had chosen “liberty, equality and fraternity” and “said no to the tyranny of fake news.”
“Congratulations to @EmmanuelMacron, new president of #France. Let us work in France and Spain for a stable, prosperous and more integrated Europe,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a tweet.
Belgium’s prime minister welcomed the election of Macron as French president and invited him to join in the effort to reinvigorate the European Union.
The pro-EU politician Emmanuel Macron has been elected as France's youngest ever president with a projected landslide of 65.5 per cent.
Macron, 39, beat far-right National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen, 48, in an election that will have widespread repercussions for the future of Europe.
He has previously stated he will not give Britain an easy Brexit deal and even branded the UK's departure from the EU 'a crime'.
And on Sunday, an official preliminary result released at 8pm local time showed Macron received two thirds of the vote and had earned a clear 31-point victory over Le Pen.
Just 15 minutes after the exit polls were announced, Le Pen conceded and revealed she phoned Macron to 'congratulate' him on his election victory.
Later in the evening, Macron addressed thousands of his adoring supporters who had gathered at his election victory rally outside the Louvre in central Paris.
He repeatedly said the task before him was 'immense' adding that Europe and the world were looking to France. He added that he would work to 'reform our Europe'.
He added: 'This evening it is Europe and it is the world that are watching us. Europe and the world are waiting for us to defend the spirit of the enlightenment everywhere, threatened in so many places.
'They expect us to defend liberties everywhere, that we protect the oppressed. They are waiting for us to have a new hope, a new humanism, a more secure world, a world of freedom, a world of more growth, more justice, more ecology. They await us finally.