French president-elect Macron to fight 'division'

PARIS - Emmanuel Macron has vowed to fight "the forces of division that undermine France" after easily winning the run-off election for the French presidency.

The centrist candidate, 39, defeated the far right's Marine Le Pen, winning 66.1% of the vote to her 33.9%.

Acknowledging his victory, Mr Macron told supporters he wanted to ensure Le Pen voters "no longer have a reason to vote for an extremist position".

There has been a palpable sense of relief among European leaders.

Mr Macron was elected on a pro-European Union platform, while Ms Le Pen by contrast threatened to pull out of the single currency and hold an in/out referendum on France's membership of the EU.

In a speech to jubilant supporters, Mr Macron said: "Tonight you won, France won. Everyone told us it was impossible, but they don't know France."

His win makes him France's youngest president, and overturns the decades-long dominance of France's two main political parties.

But huge challenges remain, with a third of the electorate choosing Ms Le Pen and even more abstaining or casting a blank ballot.

Mr Macron said he had heard "the rage, anxiety and doubt that a lot of you have expressed", vowing to spend his five years in office "fighting the forces of division that undermine France".

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