On Sunday evening it was announced that Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, had defeated le Front National’s Marine Le Pen with 66.06% of the electoral vote to become the next President of France. The victory has been marked as a historic upheaval in the country’s political landscape, with Mr. Macron’s En Marche Party ending decades of French rule by established political parties. Mr. Macron’s win has been seen as a political boost for the European project, with his convincing win hailed by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany as “a victory for a strong and united Europe”. Prime Minister Theresa May phoned to congratulate Mr. Macron on his win, saying that France was one of Britain’s closest allies and “we look forward to working with the new president”. It is understood that the two also briefly discussed the issues of Brexit on the telephone, with Mrs. May reiterating that the “UK wants a strong partnership with a secure and prosperous EU once we leave”. Mr. Macron’s approach to Brexit is unclear at the moment, although he has previously promised a “strict approach to Brexit”. There are also suggestions that Mr. Macron, like his predecessor Mr. Hollande, will attempt to use Brexit to France’s advantage by encouraging banks, researchers and academics to relocate to France and enjoy the continued benefits of access to the single market. Meanwhile, the PM added that she “looked forward to working with the new President on a range of shared issues, with the UK and France’s unique partnership providing a strong foundation for future co-operation”.
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