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French natives in the U.S. are turning out to cast their ballots Saturday, one day ahead of Sunday’s election in France that pits centrist Emmanuel Macron against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. (May 6)
AP

French voters Sunday rejected far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen to elect centrist Emmanuel Macron, a choice that resonates far beyond the nation’s borders, from extremist strongholds in Syria to London and Hong Kong trading floors to the halls of the United Nations Security Council.

The outcome could have been bigger than Brexit and decided the future of Europe.

Here are five reasons this election mattered:

Risk of a ‘Frexit’ averted

Macron’s victory effectively ends any near-term threat that France could pull out of the European Union, just as the United Kingdom did with Brexit. Le Pen had made leaving the EU a priority.

The loss of a founding member of the alliance and one of its biggest countries would have all but doomed the EU to collapse and ended post-World War II dreams of a politically and economically united continent.

Currency chaos

Markets will be relieved that Macron, though untested and France’s youngest ever president, will be the country’s 25th leader.

Le Pen wanted to scrap the euro and return to using the French franc, a change that would have roiled currency and other financial markets around the globe.

A Frexit may also have heralded controls on money transfers, capital flight and a plague of defaults and lawsuits on bonds and contracts.

Migrant movements

Macron wants to strengthen France’s external borders and work with EU partners to more effectively police immigration.

His victory puts a halt to controversial proposals by Le Pen, who wants to limit immigration and ban Muslims from entering…