39-year old elective office newcomer Emmanuel Macron has won the 2017 French presidential election.
Macron defeated Marine Le Pen in the runoff round, with exit polls indicating a 65.1 to 34.9 margin.
Throughout the second round campaign, it was widely assumed that Macron would defeat Le Pen. His first-place finish in the opening round two weeks ago cemented his position as the man to beat. On Sunday night, the landslide victory became a reality.
Macron’s rise to the top spot, however, was a marvel of its own. Marine Le Pen and François Fillon, the Republican candidate, were seen as the early frontrunners. Yet, Emmanuel Macron rose from under 20 percent at the start of the year to first-round winner in April. This is Macron’s first elected office.
Emmanuel Macron will take office May 18, replacing outgoing president François Hollande.
Emmanuel Macron: His Backstory
Macron got his start in French politics as a young man with the Citizen and Republican Movement, eventually joining the Socialist Party. Through his connections within the Inspection générale des finances, he met and began working for François Hollande. Eventually, Hollande, then president, made Macron his Deputy Secretary-General of the Élysée. In this role, Macron served as a more moderate voice on matters of fiscal policy.
Macron later became Minister of Economy and Finance in 2014, despite not having been elected to the parliament. He left this role in 2016, almost two years to the day after taking the job. By then, he was already a critic of the government in which he served. Finding himself increasingly at odds with the Hollande government, Macron began his En Marche! movement in 2016. It wouldn’t be much longer before he was out of the government.
Emmanuel Macron: Electoral Path
As leader of his new party, Emmanuel Macron declared his presidential candidacy in November 2016. Macron’s rise in the polls did not start until January. This was the first time he broke into the top two, but such results were few and far-between. By February, however, with François Fillon sinking due to scandal, Macron and Marine Le Pen became the clear top two. It remained as such all the way until the first round of the election, with Macron coming in first.
For the results of the French presidential election, see our maps and information page.