×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmanuel Macron Wins French Presidential Election, Beats Far-Right Candidate Marine Le Pen

PARIS — Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old centrist whose insurgent independent candidacy took millions of his compatriots by surprise, was elected president of France on Sunday, defeating far-right leader Marine Le Pen with a projected 65.8% of votes. Le Pen got 34.9%, according to projections.

Macron’s victory capped a tumultuous race that shook up the country’s political landscape, and could prove decisive for the fate of the European Union in the post-Brexit era.

Against the backdrop of a surge in populism around the world, which resulted in the Brexit vote in the U.K. and the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S., the French election was carefully watched by international observers who feared France would follow the same path by voting for Le Pen, who embraced an anti-E.U., anti-immigrant, protectionist platform.

Although Macron has never been elected to public office, his victory has been perceived as the best-case scenario by mainstream media outlets, as well as civil-rights organizations and financial markets.

Earlier this week, Macron was endorsed by former U.S. President Barack Obama. Macron “has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world, and he is committed to a better future for the French people,” Obama said in a recorded video which went viral.

“The French election is very important to the future of France and the values that we care so much about. Because the success of France matters to the entire world,” Obama said.

Trump, who had tacitly endorsed Le Pen during the campaign, took to Twitter to congratulate Macron on “his big win” Sunday and said he looked “very much forward to working with him!”

British Prime Minister Theresa May also congratulated Macron. “France is one of our closest allies, and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities,” May said in a statement.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman called the outcome “a victory for a strong united Europe and for the Franco-German friendship.”

The election marked a milestone since it featured two runoff candidates who did not belong to either of the two main parties that have dominated French political life for more than half a century.

Macron’s immediate challenge will be to build a parliamentary majority for his party, En Marche!, which was recently launched and has no representation in parliament.

The last week of the campaign was marked by a heated and bitter televised debate between Macron and Le Pen, whose aggressive personal attacks and alleged attempts to spread “fake news” sparked parodies on social media and a defamation lawsuit filed by Macron the following day. Le Pen went as far as to suggest that Macron possibly had an offshore bank account in the Bahamas. And over the weekend, the En Marche! movement claimed it had been the victim of a “massive and coordinated hack.”

It was the first time that a far-right presidential candidate had participated in a runoff debate, and many observers concluded that Le Pen had failed to rise up to the challenge and didn’t look “presidential” enough. Macron won the debate, according to 63% of people who were surveyed by Elabe pollsters for BFM TV. But some French journalists were quick to point out that Hillary Clinton was also seen to have won three presidential debates before losing the election to Donald Trump.

Even though Le Pen lost the election, her final score of 34.9% and the mainstream coverage she garnered during her campaign propelled the once-shunned National Front party to the forefront of France’s political landscape. Her performance also underscores the fact that she has successfully rebranded the party, which has xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racist roots, as a nationalistic/patriotic party.

In 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, who once described the Holocaust as a “detail of history,” qualified for the second round of the presidential election, it sparked outrage across France. His rival, Jacques Chirac, the Republican candidate, ended up winning the election by a landslide with 82.1%.

To the eyes of the French entertainment world, Macron’s win – and especially Le Pen’s defeat – is largely welcome news.

Although her program barely touched on culture, she had said she would replace France’s anti-piracy law with a global license, which opponents said would legalize piracy as well as jeopardize territorial licensing and French financing schemes.

France’s creative community also feared that Le Pen would try to suppress cultural content deemed too liberal, and would create an ultra-conservative atmosphere that led to censorship or even self-censorship. Le Pen was also keen to rein in the press, calling for a “creation of a code of conduct for journalists.”

Macron is said to hold progressive values that are more in tune with French cultural communities, especially in the film industry. While serving as minister of the economy in current President Francois Hollande’s government, Macron helped create and promote French Tech, a cluster of French digital startups. Macron has also pledged to create a “cultural pass,” worth 500 euros ($542), that would be given to French residents on their 18th birthday, to encourage young people to attend cultural events in France. The pass would be partly financed by a tax levied on Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

Although Macron was privately supported by many in the entertainment industry, he received only a handful of public endorsements from French stars and industry figures, notably “Valerian” director and producer Luc Besson, who penned a letter calling Le Pen “a scammer.” Claude Lelouch, Dany Boon and professional soccer player Zinedine Zidane also endorsed Macron, as did all major film guilds, notably the ARP, which represents authors, directors and producers.

More Biz

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV sales [...]

  • anthony pellicano

    Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

    Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed. Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content