Europe

Macron faces challenges as he tries to lead a polarized France

There is a changing of the guard in France.  

Outgoing President Francois Hollande was with President-elect Emmanuel Macron at a World War 2 commemoration in Paris on Monday.  At 39, Macron is the youngest French president in modern history.  He has never held elected office. 

“It’ s unprecedented and unheard of,” political analyst Christian Mallard told Fox News, “we are in a new political landscape which is shaping up.”

Macron's performance at his victory celebration Sunday night was quite professional, concluding a campaign that saw the former investment banker create his own party and a reform platform.

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“Youth is probably an asset without a doubt,” Mallard noted, “ but he doesn’t have that much experience.”

He won with some 66 per cent of the vote in the run-off election. His far right rival Marine Le Pen got 34 per cent.

Le Pen did receive some ten and a half million votes, twice as much as her last presidential result.  But her polarizing rhetoric, in part, did her in.

“It’s a defeat,” Mallard said,” it’s a resounding defeat.”

In fact, one third of an unsettled French electorate voted for no one at all. This, after rejecting the major parties in the first round. And many who voted for Macron did so as a vote against Le Pen. 

When asked if they thought Macron would do a good job, one Parisian responded warily, “I hope so.”

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Another told Fox, “For me it’s hope. Maybe for  something new. He needs energy for 'renovation’.”

Clashes with police in a Paris neighborhood Sunday night underscored the challenges Macron faces as he forms a government, fields candidates for legislative elections, and tries to get his reforms through.

The question for all,” analyst Mallard posed, also warily, “Will Macron be able to face all the challenges ahead?”

Outside of France, at least, there was relief, with Macron's pro-EU and pro-NATO  stances reassuring a concerned international community.

At upcoming summits, Macron gets to meet  another  "outsider" turned leader...President Trump. 

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.