Macron Takes Power as French President

Macron Takes Power as French PresidentMacron Takes Power as French President

Emmanuel Macron became France’s youngest-ever president on Sunday, promising at his inauguration to restore the country’s lost confidence and pledging to relaunch the flagging European Union.

Macron, a 39-year-old centrist, took the reins of power from Socialist Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace a week after his resounding victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in an election that was watched worldwide, AFP reported.

After a private meeting with his former mentor Hollande and his first speech as president, Macron headed up the rainy Champs Elysees in an army vehicle, waving to small crowds of well-wishers who gathered along the famed avenue. Macron said his first priority would be “to give back to the French people the confidence that for too long has been flagging”, while the second would be making France a beacon for democracy and freedom worldwide.

France’s place was in the European Union “which protects us and enables us to project our values in the world”, but he said the 28-member bloc needed to be “reformed and relaunched.”

Macron also suggested he would press on with his ambitious but controversial agenda to reform France’s rigid labor market and modernize the social security system despite the fierce resistance he is likely to meet.

“I will not reverse course on any of the commitments taken in front of the French people,” he said, adding that “France is strong only if she is prosperous.”

Some analysts and opponents have questioned the strength of Macron’s mandate after he won just 24.01% in the first round of the presidential election on April 23 before his landslide victory over Le Pen in the second.

The former investment banker was proclaimed president by Laurent Fabius, president of the Constitutional Council, at the 18th-century presidential palace in central Paris where Macron and his wife Brigitte will now live.

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