French ex-prime minister Valls offers to back Macron in June elections

Posted May 20, 2017

French police on Monday said 141 people were arrested in Paris following Emmanuel Macron's victory in France's presidential election on Sunday.

The phrase "a sea change in French politics" was repeated by analysts today, many of whom added that other European countries had rejected far-right candidates in recent months, particularly in light of America's baffling decision to elect Donald Trump last November.

In fact, Macron handily beat Le Pen in this presidential election, assuring that Macron will be able to "right the ship", as it were, without the prejudicial baggage that a Le Pen presidency would likely bring.

His rivals will now be motivated to keep Mr Macron from making further gains during the two-round parliamentary election. If they win a majority of those seats, Macron's job becomes much easier; he selects his own prime minister and works with his party to pass legislation.

But if another party wins a majority, the new president could be pressured to choose a prime minister from that party, a situation the French call "cohabitation".

The poor result triggered a fierce debate within the party on the opportunity of sticking to the left platform defended by Hamon, or to switch back to the more centrist views of Valls and his allies.

Ferrand also said the names of Macron's 577 candidates in the legislative elections would be announced this Thursday.

Shortly after the first projections were published, Le Pen, 48, said she had congratulated Macron.

After her decisive loss, the National Front also geared up for a name change - if not a makeover of its ideas.

While Macron sees France's way forward in boosting the competitiveness of an open economy, Le Pen wanted to shield French workers by closing borders, quitting the EU's common currency the euro, radically loosening the bloc and scrapping trade deals.

Five projections, issued within minutes of polling stations closing at 6am on Monday (NZT), showed Macron beating Le Pen by around 65 per cent to 35 - a gap wider than the 20 or so percentage points that pre-election surveys had pointed to.

"I will fight with all my strength against the divisions that are undermining us", Macron said in a solemn speech at his campaign headquarters on Sunday. "We're not giving any instructions", she told French media.