French President Emmanuel Macron wins reelection

French President Emmanuel Macron wins reelection
French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, Remi Jouan

Incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron was reelected to a second term in a Sunday runoff contest between himself and far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.

Macron, 44, "is projected to receive 58.2 percent of the vote in Sunday's second-round runoff, versus 41.8 percent for Le Pen, his nationalist rival," NBC News reported.

Macron is the first French leader to earn a second term since former President Jacques Chirac defeated Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, in 2002.

His victory is significant in the history of modern French politics in other ways as well.

Macron "will win decisively though by a smaller margin than in 2017, when he won by more than 30 percentage points to become France's youngest president," NBC explained.

But Le Pen will walk away with bragging rights of her own too.

"While falling short of the Élysée Palace again, in her third presidential run, Le Pen still looks set to secure the most votes ever for a French far-right candidate," NBC added.

Le Pen is also a staunch opponent of immigration and her family has a history of Holocaust denial. During her campaign, however, Le Pen "sought to soften her image and distance her party from her family’s often toxic political legacy," according to NBC.

The Macron-Le Pen showdown was a source of angst among Western leaders in Europe and the United States due, in large part, to Le Pen's soft spot for Russia and its autocratic President Vladimir Putin. A Le Pen victory would have given Putin a critical ally in his invasion of Ukraine and ongoing campaign to weaken the European Union.

France boasts the second-largest economy in the EU and is its only member state with nuclear weapons.

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