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Macron wins French presidency by a large margin as he gives brief speech after French victory


PARIS (AP) — The Latest on France’s presidential runoff Sunday between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron acknowledged divisions in society he says drove people to “vote to the extreme” and says he will work for all of France.

Macron, whose far-right opponent Marine Le Pen had called for leaving the European Union and returning France to the franc currency, says that he will defend both France and Europe as president.

The 39-year-old former banker, who served as finance minister under the unpopular President Francois Hollande, briefly acknowledged his onetime mentor.

But not once cracking a smile in the short speech, Macron says that he needed to look forward for the sake all of France.

It was less a victory speech than one of acknowledgement of the task ahead for Macron, who was projected to win 65 percent of votes cast for a candidate, compared with 35 percent for Le Pen.

The head of the European Union’s executive has congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election as French president and says that his pro-European message will continue to be that of founding nation France.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says that it made him “happy that the ideas that you defended of a strong and progressive Europe that protects all its citizens will be those that France will cherish under your presidency.”

Juncker had already shown his clear support for Macron after the first round in the elections and insisted that a win Marine Le Pen would have been bad for the EU and France alike.

8:50 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has congratulated Emmanuel Macron, tweeting in French “vive la France, Vive L’Europe!” or “Long live France, long live Europe!”

Peter Altmaier says the result is “a strong signal for our common values.”

Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, also has tweeted in French “felicitations,” or congratulations. He says it’s “a victory for a strong and united Europe.”

Before the results came in, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, urged support for Macron in his efforts to create jobs and undermine support for the National Front party’s nationalist approach under far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Gabriel said that a Macron victory means that “we have only won time.

We must do everything to see that Macron succeeds.”

8:40 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has offered her warm wishes to France’s new president-elect, saying she welcomes a chance to work with Emmanuel Macron.

May’s Downing Street office says that she “warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success.”

In comments released immediately after exit polls showed Macron’s victory, May said that France is one of Britain’s closest allies and “we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities.”

France will be a key player in upcoming talks on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

8:35 p.m.

Thousands of supporters of French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron have let out a big cheer when national television called the presidential election in his favor based on poll projections.

Macron’s backers are singing “we have won, we have won” and are waving French flags in front of the stage in the courtyard outside the Louvre museum where he is planning to celebrate his victory.

Many expressed their relief that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen suffered a clear defeat.

Sandra Ledoux, a 32-year-old Macron supporter, says that she feels “very happy because Macron is young, innovative and he has a project to make Europe better instead of destroying it like Le Pen wanted.”

8:30 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande says that he has called centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to congratulate him on his election victory.

Hollande says it shows that the overwhelming majority of voters rallied behind the European Union and openness to the world.

It was Hollande who first brought Macron into the world of politics, naming the untested ex-banker as economy minister.

But Macron left the position to found his own political movement last year, and has distanced himself from his former mentor.

With nearly 20 percent of the votes counted, Macron had 60 percent of the vote to 40 percent for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, according to the Interior Ministry. The early results are primarily from provincial towns that lean more conservative than the cities, whose votes are counted later.

8:15 p.m.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says she has called centrist Emmanuel Macron to congratulate him and says the vote confirms her National Front party and its allies as the leader of France’s opposition.

Minutes after the first results were released, Le Pen said she would call for a new political force as legislative elections loom in June.

Le Pen received 35 percent of the votes cast for a candidate, according to polling agency projections, compared with 65 percent for Macron.

She hinted that her party may rename itself from the National Front, which has been dogged by allegations of racism and anti-Semitism since it was founded by her father.

8:10 p.m.

France’s prime minister says that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election.

Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement minutes after the last polls closed that the vote “testifies to the lucidity of the voters who rejected the deadly project of the extreme right.” He said the vote shows an embrace of the European Union.

French polling agencies have projected that Macron has defeated Marine Le Pen 65 percent to 35 percent, with a record number of blank and spoiled ballots.

8 p.m.

Polling agencies have projected that centrist Emmanuel Macron will be France’s next president, putting a 39-year-old political novice at the helm of one of the world’s biggest economies and slowing a global populist wave.

The agencies projected that Macron defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen 65 percent to 35 percent on Sunday.

If confirmed, Le Pen’s showing would nonetheless be stronger than her National Front party has seen in its 45-year history.

The projections are based on vote counts in selected constituencies, then extrapolated nationwide.

Macron would be the youngest French president ever.

But Le Pen’s projected showing, unusually low turnout and the record number of blank ballots are an indication of the headwinds facing Macron, a former economy minister who started his own political movement only a year ago.

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