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

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

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

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.

Last week, in a specially taped video clip, former president Barack Obama endorsed Monsieur Macron.

Again, the former Socialist Party functionary (an economist) has embarked on his independent journey with En Marche! France is deeply divided and the election result reflected a very disturbing rise in ultraright support, particularly in the rust-belt areas of the country. Macron said the person he has "in mind" is in line with the profile he has disclosed previously: someone with political experience, who can lead a parliamentary majority.

Valls's move could be a boost for Macron, who needs to secure a majority in the elections to have a realistic chance of implementing his ambitious reform plans. He will be the eighth president of the French Fifth Republic. The 34% that Le Pen won is double the support her father attracted when he campaigned on an ultraright National Front ticket in 2002.

Ferrand said the names of Macron's 577 candidates in the legislative elections would be announced on Thursday. It also marks decades of peace in western Europe, something Mr Macron made a cornerstone of his campaign against Ms Le Pen's brand of populism.

Facing massive unpopularity, Mr Hollande decided against seeking a second term.

Monday was the first time Macron and Hollande had appeared in public together since Macron resigned in August 2016 as Hollande's economy minister to run for president - a decision that was received coldly by the French leader at the time.

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On Monday, though, Hollande gripped Macron's arm before the two men walked side by side and then announced the transfer of power would take place Sunday.

"Some will cast blank ballots, others will go fishing, others will vote for Marine Le Pen". But she defiantly claimed the mantle of France's main opposition in calling on "all patriots to join us" in constituting a "new political force", which she said would be the main opposition to the new government.

Sylvie Goulard, a French deputy to the European Parliament, said Macron would make Berlin, Germany, his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed overseas as well.

"German support can't replace French policies", she said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Macron's election makes it even more important for British voters to back her Conservatives and strengthen Britain's hand in European Union exit talks.

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.

The euro climbed to $1.1022, its highest level in six months and its first break above $1.10 since the US presidential election.

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