Macron vows to heal France’s divisions following historic win

French far-right presidential candidate Marine le Pen delivers a speech, Sunday, May 7, 2017 in Paris.

“I will fight with all my strength against the divisions that are undermining us”, he said.

He had garnered around 66% against Le Pen’s 34% – a wider gap than the 20 or so percentage points pre-election surveys had suggested.

“The high abstention rate, despite the threat of the far-right, is a sign already of dissatisfaction with the new president”, it said in an editorial.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde kisses Emmanuel Macron (when French Economy Minister) at the OECD headquarter in Paris, October 17, 2014.

Macron plans to tackle a decade of slow growth and rising unemployment by overhauling France’s labour market, simplifying the tax and pension systems, paring back regulations and spending more on education, not least in deprived areas.

His party is changing its name to La Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move) as it prepares a list of candidates for next month’s parliamentary elections. “We shall see”, Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the hardline leftist Force Ouvriere union told France Info radio.

Should En Marche! not emerge as the largest single group in June’s elections, France would enter a period of “cohabitation”, which would require Macron to appoint a prime minister outside his party.

He also said the names of Macron’s 577 candidates in the legislative elections would be announced this Thursday. He has previously said he would like to appoint a woman.

The election victory of French pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron has raised hopes among liberal democrats that the populist and anti-globalisation juggernaut behind Brexit and Donald Trump is losing momentum.

The president walked beside the 39-year-old Macron to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the monument, where they laid a wreath.

Recent political historyis not promising for Macron: the last two presidents, Republicans Nicholas Sarkozy and Hollande, were unpopular one-term presidents despite enjoying a legislative majority.

Similarly, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that now Macron must be allowed to succeed because “if he fails, then Madame Le Pen will be president in five years’ time”.

Nigel Farage, former leader of British anti-EU party UKIP, who backed Le Pen, said on Twitter: “A giant deceit has been voted for today”. The party does not now hold any seats in the French parliament. Macron is keeping tight-lipped, even with his own team: at a meeting shortly before the first results broke Sunday evening, Macron didn’t even reveal whether he had told his nominee of his choice, said the adviser.