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Emmanuel Macron won an emphatic victory in France’s presidential election yesterday, comfortably defeating far-right opponent Marine Le Pen with 66 per cent of the vote.
The result will be a relief for financial markets, but Britain’s media were more divided this morning over what the result means from a political perspective, with some celebrating a “crushing” defeat for the far-right and others warning that Mr Macron’s victory could damage Brexit talks. Here’s a roundup of what the papers were saying:
Mr Macron’s success failed to make it to the front page of the Daily Mail, which had announced Ms Le Pen’s record showing in the first round as a “new French revolution”. Inside, however, the paper stressed Mr Macron’s commitment to “defend Europe” and “not to give Britain an easy Brexit deal” – it noted that though Mr Macron will be “mindful of what Britain has sacrificed in two world wars, he is first and foremost a hard-headed ex-banker and graduate of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration”. It added that the centrist’s victory “can’t hide the surge of France’s far right”.
The Times, in contrast said Ms Le Pen had been “crushed”. The paper said the result “marked a historic upheaval”, and a “big reversal on the nationalist, anti-globalisation cause that has made inroads in the United States and Europe”.
The Daily Telegraph focused on the vote’s repercussions for Britain, suggesting that Mr Macron’s victory would put a “cloud” over Brexit negotiations, despite Theresa May having already welcomed his success. It also added that there is “an enormous responsibility on Mr Macron’s shoulders”, with Ms Le Pen “well positioned” to take power in 2022 if his presidency is a disappointment.
The Guardian, on the other hand, said the UK as well as France would be “safer” as a result of the vote, which it described as “a decisive setback for what has sometimes been depicted as a rightwing populist tide threatening governments across the developed world”. In an editorial, the paper said “any other result would have been a European catastrophe”, though it stressed that France remains an intensely divided nation.