Ripping up France’s political map, French voters elected independent centrist Emmanuel Macron as the country’s youngest president Sunday, delivering a resounding victory to the unabashedly pro-European former investment banker and dashing the populist dream of far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Macron, who had never run for office before, celebrated with thousands of jubilant, flag-waving supporters outside the Louvre Museum in Paris on Sunday night.
The European anthem “Ode to Joy” played as he strode out to address the swelling crowd.
“France has won!” he said. “Everyone said it was impossible. But they do not know France!”
Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the runoff, quickly called the 39-year-old Macron to concede after voters rejected her “French-first” nationalism by a large margin. Le Pen’s performance punctured her hopes that the populist wave which swept Donald Trump into the White House and led Britain to vote to leave the EU would also carry her to France’s presidential Elysee Palace. (AP)
Here’s a look – from stump speeches to protests – at the last days of the battle between Macron and Le Pen, leading up to victory for the French presidency.