Macron Sworn In as Youngest French Leader Since Napoleon

15 May, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • The new faces of France? Macron's candidates gather in Paris

Central Paris will come to a standstill on Sunday for the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron as president of France for a five-year term he overcame the odds to win and which he has said can unite a divided nation.

Macron assumed power after an hour-long private meeting with outgoing President Francois Hollande, 62, in which official access to France's nuclear missile launch codes was handed over.

In his inaugural address, Macron pledged to work to overcome divisions in society which had been shown by the presidential election campaign and seek to build a strong France that was sure of itself in the world.

The two men shook hands between the French and European Union (EU) flags, a reminder of France's prominent role in the 28-member bloc and Macron's commitment to the EU. Macron's direct predecessor Francois Hollande, a self-styled "Normal President", meanwhile came under fire for paying almost 10,000 euros a month to his hairdresser.

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

Macron won after a bitter campaign against a strong far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, who delivered the best-ever result for the country's far-right party after her furious denunciations of immigration and open borders. Mr Macron was Mr Hollande's former adviser, then his economy minister from 2014 to 2016, when Mr Macron quit the Socialist government to launch his own independent presidential bid.

With a swell of string instruments, Mr Macron enters the ballroom surrounded by his family and political friends.

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Macron said all countries in the world are "interdependent ... we are all neighbors".

The 39-year-old is the youngest president in the country's history and the eighth president of France's Fifth Republic, which was created in 1958.

The group will announce its 577 candidates for the parliamentary seats tomorrow and will not engage in alliances, aside from the one already concluded with Mr Francois Bayrou's Democratic Movement.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann Former French President Francois Hollande waves from his auto as President Emmanuel Macron (Rear) watches after the handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 14, 2017.

The new president is also expected to name the country's prime minister in the next few days.

The new president's wife Brigitte, a 64-year-old who was his high school drama teacher, listened to his sombre 12-minute speech wearing a light blue Louis Vuitton outfit.

Macron himself wore a dark suit from French brand Jonas and Cie, a tailor based in Paris, that cost 450 euros ($491), according to his team.

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