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Macron takes power as French president

15 Mai 2017

France has inaugurated new president, Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old independent centrist who was elected May 7.

Macron won after a bitter campaign against a strong far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, who delivered the best-ever result for the country's far-right party after her furious denunciations of immigration and open borders.

"We need a more efficient, more democratic, more political Europe, because it is the instrument of our strength and our sovereignty", Macron said. His Republic on the Move movement hopes to reinvigorate French politics and win a majority of lawmakers in the June parliamentary election.

It is official, Emmanuel Macron became the eighth president of the Fifth Republic.

In a ceremony at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris, the 39-year-old took over the reins of power from Francois Hollande.

/ The Atlantic " The division and fractures in our society must be overcome.

The two men shook hands between the French and European Union (EU) flags, a reminder of France's prominent role in the 28-member bloc and Macron's commitment to the EU.

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Macron also suggested he would press on with his ambitious but controversial agenda to reform France's rigid labour market and modernise the social security system despite the fierce resistance he is likely to meet. Hollande was applauded by the employees of the French presidency at his departure. It was Mr Hollande who launched the new president's political career, appointing him first as adviser and later economy minister.

Macron has promised to breathe new life into French politics, and in his speech Sunday, he laid out a vision of a vibrant economy boosted by innovation and technology, and an openness to the world. Between 2009 and 2014 he was France's top representative to the European Union in Brussels.The announcement comes as Macron prepares to make his first foreign visit to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, highlighting the importance of the Franco-German relationship during troubled times for the European Union as Britain prepares to leave the bloc. Rarely is there good news to smile at.

In a ceremony full of pomp, he was presented with what is effectively his chain of office - a heavy golden necklace mounted on a red cushion that makes him Grand Master of the National Order of the Legion d'Honneur.

But he also appeared determined to create an impression of personal modesty at the start of his rule. Trogneux wore a blue-lavender dress with a double-breasted jacket, designed for the occasion by Nicolas Ghesquiere from Louis Vuitton. A former economy minister with pro-business, pro-European views, Macron is the first French president who doesn't originate from the country's two mainstream parties.

Departing from past tradition, he chose to be driven by military jeep rather than limousine to the Arc de Triomphe in driving rain to light a flame in tribute to France's war dead, a potent reminder of France's role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence alliance.

Some 1,500 police officers were deployed near the presidential palace and on the Champs Elysees.

Mr Hollande described the "terrible ordeals" that marked his five-year term, from deadly attacks to Greece's debt crisis, and defended his unpopular presidency in a series of tweets minutes after leaving the Elysee Palace.

Macron takes power as French president