Emmanuel Macron — a 39-year-old former banker who formed his political party around a year ago — will be the next president of France, according to exit polls released around 8 pm local time on Sunday.
According to those polls, Macron bested his opponent, Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front with roughly 65 percent of the vote; she received around 35 percent. Turnout was 65.3 percent at 5 pm local time — down from 71.96 percent in 2012. Over a quarter of voters abstained — the highest on record for France in decades (perhaps because far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon said he would not endorse either of the candidates after he failed to make the second round).
The result, then, went much the way experts and pollsters alike expected it to go — even with an eleventh hour dump of hacked (and faked) Macron emails and documents just hours before the campaign officially ended on Friday. French media, however, also respected the blackout law — Le Monde, for example, one of the biggest papers in France, announced it would not publish or report on the Macron leaks until after Sunday’s second round vote).
Macron is expected to celebrate at a packed rally at the Louvre. Le Pen’s post-vote party was, much like her candidacy, fraught with scandal even before it got started — after media outlets like Politico and BuzzFeed France were refused admittance, Le Monde and Bloomberg refused to cover the event out of solidarity.
At Vincennes Park in Paris, Le Pen thanked the 11 million who voted for her, and all those who wanted to choose patriotism over globalization. “I call on all patriots to take part in the decisive political battles … Long live the republic, long live France.” And with that, she had conceded, and walked off the stage.
Macron thanked those who voted for him, but went on to address every citizen of France. “I’m speaking to each of you tonight, to all of you together who make up the people of France. We have a duty to our…