In a rebuke to traditional French politics, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen squared off in a winner-take-all runoff election Sunday. As polls predicted, Macron emerged victorious.
Final polls showed 66.1% support for Macron versus 33.9% for Le Pen. The blowout victory was widely predicted by pollsters, who said the far-right Le Pen had little chance of competing against the more centrist Macron.
Macron and Le Pen finished Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the April 23 election, catapulting them to the second round. Under France’s electoral law, a candidate has two rounds to secure a majority and be declared president.
At 39, Macron becomes the youngest French president in the modern era.
“France has won!” he said. “Everyone said it was impossible. But they do not know France!”
The new leader said a new page was being turned in France’s history.
“I want it to be a page of hope and renewed trust,” he said after dominating Sunday’s runoff election.
He said he would “guarantee the unity of the nation and… defend and protect Europe.”
For her part, Le Pen said the National Front party would require a “deep transformation” to appeal to more voters in the next election. She also said Macron faces “huge challenges” in the years ahead.
Investors breathed a sigh of relief at the outcome, which all but guaranteed France would avoid a United Kingdom-style referendum on the European Union (EU). Le Pen’s platform included exiting the EU, withdrawing from the euro and closing France’s borders to immigrations. With ‘Frexit’ fears abating, European markets are poised to extend their recent run of gains.
European stocks climbed to fresh 21-month highs after the election result before pulling back later in the day, a sign that Macron’s election win was already priced into the market. The main equity gauges were mostly lower through the midday as investors assessed the economic and financial impact of the election.
France’s CAC 40 Index, which skyrocketed to 14-year highs after the initial round of voting, was down nearly 1% through the session.
The euro opened a hair below 1.10 U.S. and eventually broke above that level before turning back later in the day. The EUR/USD exchange rate was last down 0.5% at 1.0953.
 The Associated Press (May 7, 2017). “Emmanuel Macron wins French presidency by wide margin.” CBC News.
 BBC.com (May 8, 2017). “Emmanuel Macron defeats Le Pen to become French president.”
 Carla Mozee (May 8, 2017). “European stocks pull back from 21-month high after Macron wins French election.” Market Watch.