Emmanuel Macron prevailed in France’s presidential election, crushing far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s second-round ballot. Macron’s victory is a win for the center in France and Europe more broadly, establishing a solid bulwark against the populist tide that had threatened to swamp the continent’s politics. Yet celebrations must be tempered by the scale of the challenges that Macron, an inexperienced politician, must now confront, as well as the recognition that while Le Pen was defeated, Macron is in many ways also a repudiation of the established political order in France.
Macron’s win in the runoff was widely expected. He bested Le Pen (and nine other presidential contenders) in the first round of voting, and the other parties rallied around the centrist upstart. While some observers held their breath during the second half of the campaign, fearing a Brexit-style upset by the National Front leader, Macron’s lead in all opinion polls was so substantial that a loss would have required a catastrophic failure of polling and French politics.