London - Emmanuel Macron’s election as president of France has won his country and the European Union a chance to turn back the populist tide sweeping the West. It may also be their last.
The former investment banker and economy minister successfully repackaged himself as an outsider who promised “a new kind of politics,’’ and his victory over Marine Le Pen by a projected 65% to 35% was more decisive than some pollsters had predicted. Still, that was significantly narrower than the last time a National Front candidate made it to the runoff for president, highlighting the scale of the task now facing Macron.
As European governments in Germany and elsewhere rushed to welcome one of their own taking charge of the euro region’s second-largest economy, Le Pen claimed a new role for the her party as the country’s main opposition. Conceding defeat, she pointed to “a re-composition of political life.” That would be hard to deny. For many French men and women, the taboo against voting for a radical, far-right candidate has been broken.