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France's Hollande greets Macron in first meeting since victory


Macron is scheduled to attend a series of events and ceremonies with outgoing president Francois Hollande on Monday.

"I will always be at his side", Hollande added.

Similarly, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that now Macron must be allowed to succeed because "if he fails, then Madame Le Pen will be president in five years' time".

"I will fight with all my strength against the divisions that are undermining us", he said. Without that, Le Pen could be hard-pressed to be more than a disruptive force instead of changing the nation's course. Sophie McLoughlin is a member of his political movement, En Marche.

Macron handily defeated far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday's presidential runoff, and now must pull together a majority of lawmakers for his year-old political movement to run in the mid-June legislative election.

Macron is an ardent Europhile, appearing on stage carrying an European Union flag at a campaign rally and claiming that France was "a valley of tears" before the bloc came into being.

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"I know the anger, the anxiety and the doubts that a large number of you have expressed", Macron told thousands of cheering and flag-waving supporters at a victory party in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris.

"We will not give into fear, divisions", he said after arriving while the European Union anthem "Ode To Joy" blared through the museum's courtyard.

While the euro's reaction is perhaps a little surprising, Macron's victory will be cheered by investors across the continent.

"Happy that the French chose a European future", European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Twitter.

On assuming office next Sunday as France's youngest leader since Napoleon, Macron faces the immediate challenge of securing a majority in the June parliamentary election to have a realistic chance of implementing his plans for lower state spending, higher investment and reform of the tax, labor and pension systems.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters in Washington on May 8 that Trump called Macron earlier in the day to congratulate the French president-elect.

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Le Pen credited herself with upsetting the French political landscape, creating a divide "between patriots and globalists".

Putin said, "The citizens of France have entrusted you to lead the country in a period that is hard for Europe and for all of world society".

"The growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism is accompanied by an escalation of local conflicts and the destabilisation of entire regions", said Mr Putin. "In these circumstances, it is especially important to overcome mutual distrust and unite efforts to ensure worldwide stability and security", he said.

In Europe's other big election this year, the German vote in September, centre-right Chancellor Angela Merkel is leading in the polls while the fringe anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is losing steam.

Moscow has rejected accusations of interfering in the election campaign, as it has rejected similar charges out of Berlin and Washington.

Richard Ferrand, Macron's campaign manager and himself tipped in French media as a possible premier, offered few clues, telling RTL radio Monday it was up to the president-elect to find the person best-suited to "unite people beyond the traditional divides".

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