Emmanuel Macron defeats Le Pen to become French president

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFrench election night in 120 seconds (including the accidental broadcast of the new president’s speech preparations)Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has decisively won the French presidential election, defeating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Mr Macron won by 66.06% to 33.94% to become, at 39, the country’s youngest president.

Mr Macron’s win ends the decades-long dominance of the two traditional main left-wing and right-wing parties.

He said that a new page was being turned in French history.

“I want it to be a page of hope and renewed trust,” he said.

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Mr Macron said he had heard “the rage, anxiety and doubt that a lot of you have expressed” and vowed to spend his five years in office “fighting the forces of division that undermine France”.

He said he would “guarantee the unity of the nation and… defend and protect Europe.”

Mr Macron’s supporters gathered in their thousands to celebrate outside the Louvre museum in central Paris and their new president later joined them.

In his speech to the crowd, he said: “Tonight you won, France won. Everyone told us it was impossible, but they don’t know France.”

But he repeated a number of times that the task facing him and the country was enormous.

He said: “We have the strength, the energy and the will – and we will not give in to fear.”

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His mention of Ms Le Pen drew loud boos, and he said he would do all he could to ensure in future there would be no reason to vote for extremism.

Security remains tight in the capital and there were reports of police firing tear gas at several hundred anti-capitalist protesters near the Ménilmontant metro in the 20th arrondissement.

What has Ms Le Pen said?

In her speech, she thanked the estimated 11 million people who had voted for her. She said the election had shown a division between “patriots and globalists” and called for the emergence of a new political force.

Ms Le Pen said her National Front party needed to renew itself and that she would start the “deep transformation of our movement”, vowing to lead it into upcoming parliamentary elections.

She also said she had wished Mr Macron success in tackling the “huge challenges” facing him.

Subdued and blue: BBC’s James Reynolds at Le Pen HQ Image copyright EPA

“It’s the people who decide,” Marine Le Pen told me during the final days of the run-off campaign.

The people have now decided that they don’t want her as their president. Ms Le Pen lost this election comprehensively.

But in winning more than 30% of the run-off vote, she has taken a significant step towards her goal of making her movement respectable and electable.

Ms Le Pen may now try to broaden her party’s approach. She’ll even re-name her party, on the assumption that the National Front’s name is an obstacle to winning over more voters.

At the party’s campaign headquarters on election night, supporters carried blue-coloured roses, Ms Le Pen’s favoured symbol. She even danced to I Love Rock and Roll.

It may have been a strange way for a beaten presidential hopeful to spend the night, but this party has long term plans. Supporters will save their blue roses for 2022.

Read more: What does Marine Le Pen do now?

What does Mr Macron stand for?

He is a liberal centrist, pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union.

He left the Socialist government of President François Hollande last August to form his new movement – En Marche – saying it was neither left nor right wing.

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