Emmanuel was an unknown government adviser before being elected as France’s youngest leader
Elected on Sunday several months before his 40th birthday, the centrist has turned a stale establishment upside down while eschewing the wave of economic and political nationalism that helped Britain to vote for “Brexit” and Donald Trump to be elected U.S. president.
His election represents a long-awaited generational change in French politics where the same faces have dominated for years.
He will be the youngest leader in the current Group of Seven (G7) major nations and has elicited comparisons with youthful leaders past and present, from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to British ex-premier Tony Blair and even President John F. Kennedy in the United States.
Many attribute Macron’s stunning rise to a deep yearning for a fresh face, coupled with a rare message of optimism in a country that has long been obsessed with national decline.
“His campaign has been like group therapy – to convert the French to optimism,” said writer Michel Houellebecq.
The unexpected collapse of many mainstream opponents certainly played a part, but Macron had the tactical nous to seize his chance.
Emmanuel proved to be the most popular choice in the first round of voting
He seemed destined for a steady climb up the ranks of the French establishment when he decided to apply his skills as a deal-making investment banker to the world of politics.
But since striking out on his own in August 2016 after only two years as a minister, he has tapped into widespread disenchantment to broadcast a strong anti-establishment message.
Despite having attended France’s most prestigious schools, making a killing by brokering a $10 billion corporate acquisition, and serving in a Socialist government under President Francois Hollande, Macron has vowed to shake up the system that he comes from.
“France is blocked by the self-serving tendencies of its elite,” he told…