Macron victory: The verdict of the world’s media

The world’s media largely hailed the thumping victory of pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron in France’s presidential election, but sounded a note of caution about the task ahead.

Here is some early global reaction from the press on Macron’s victory over far right rival Marine Le Pen to become the country’s youngest president.

The Financial Times heralded the results, but cautioned that “Macron’s victory is incomplete” and warned that the electoral race “legitimised the French far right as never before”.

“If Mr Macron should stumble, it is altogether unclear what solution might keep Ms Le Pen at bay in 2022,” the influential paper wrote.

The Guardian newspaper similarly warned of a tough road ahead but also saluted French voters, saying they had made Europe safer through their choice of Macron.

“French voters have averted the catastrophe of a Marine Le Pen presidency. The task for Emmanuel Macron is to deliver change, prosperity, unity and healing,” the newspaper wrote.

The right-of-centre Daily Mail simply highlighted the winner’s strong lead. “Macron by a mile,” it said.

An early edition front page of Liberation, the left-leaning French newspaper jointly founded by the late philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, simply declared “Well played,” alongside a portrait of Macron.

“Macron elected,” it said on its website, alongside several pictures of the 39-year-old. “I will do all I can to be worthy of your trust and confidence,” it quoted Macron as saying.

Le Monde’s website carried Macron’s picture in the foreground, with defeated rival Le Pen in shadow. “I will defend France, its vital interests. Its image,” its headline quoted him saying.

Conservative German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said “Europe has avoided the nightmare”.

“The unthinkable has been avoided: France will not be led by a woman of the far-right. The clear victory of Emmanuel Macron provides reassurance, but Europe must not be under any illusions.”

Left-wing daily Tageszeitung wrote that “the clear victory of Emmanuel Macron is an enormous relief for France”.

The New York Times was understated in its coverage on its homepage, simply saying: “Macron wins decisive victory in France.”

In a later editorial, it said Macron’s “was a victory of hope and optimism over fear and reaction; of a future in Europe rather than in resentful isolation”.

However, it noted that “Mr. Macron faces formidable challenges. He is taking charge of a nation deeply divided, much like the United States, Britain and other major democracies, with many people feeling marginalized by globalization, economic stagnation, an unresponsive government, unemployment, faceless terrorism and a tide of immigrants”.

In an opinion piece for Fox News, the most-viewed US cable news channel and a favourite of American conservatives, executive editor John Moody, said “France has taken the easy way out, and voted for more of the same”.

He added: “He wants France to stay in the European Union and continue its open borders policy that has brought thousands of Muslim immigrants to France. When asked what he would do about Islamic terrorism, candidate Macron said: ‘This threat will be a fact of daily life in the coming years.’ How’s that for taking decisive action?”

The business daily Vedomosti said on its website that France had chosen the candidate that most represented the principles of The Fifth Republic: of an elite qualified to engage in European integration.”

The online newspaper pictured Macron addressing French voters, saying the incoming president would “have to respond to the demands for change”.

El Pais declared on its homepage: “France chooses Macron and restrains populism,” noting in an editorial: “France said no. The victory in the presidential election of Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European and liberal ex-banker, restrains the wave of populist discontent that triumphed in November in the US presidential elections and before the UK referendum. At the head of the new movement En Marche!, he decisively defeated Marine Le Pen, aligned with US President Donald Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin.”

Public television commented on the “importance” of Macron’s victory but also pointed to the high abstention rate.

The online edition of Greek daily Kathimerini hailed Macron’s “impressive victory”.

Le Temps carried pictures of joyous Macron supporters on its website and said the election’s principal outcome was that France had chosen “a new man to begin its transformation”.