The pro-EU centrist, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, was on Sunday elected the next President of France over the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen. Macron, 39, who will be sworn-in as president, six months to his 40th birthday, polled 66 per cent per while his opponent, Le Pen polled 34 per cent. The president-elect who vowed to unite a divided and fractured France was a former economy minister and ran as “neither left nor right” independent promised shake up the French political system.
His victory was hailed by his supporters as holding back a tide of populism after the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the US election. Addressing thousands of supporters in the grand courtyard of the Louvre, the vast Paris palace-turned-museum, Macron said he would defend France and Europe. He said Europe and the world are “watching us” and “waiting for us to defend the spirit of the Enlightenment, threatened in so many places.” He promised to unite a divided and fractured France, saying: “I will do everything to make sure you never have reason again to vote for extremes.”
Speaking of his meteoric rise and victory that was not forecast even a year ago, he said: “Everyone said it was impossible. But they didn’t know France!” Born 21 December 1977 in Amiens, he is the son of Françoise (Noguès), a physician, and Jean-Michel Macron, Professor of neurology at the University of Picardy. He was raised in a non-religious family and was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request at age 12. He was educated mostly at the Jésuites de la Providence lycée in Amiens before his parents sent him to finish his last year of school at the élite high school Lycée Henri-IV in Paris.
He studied Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, completed a Master’s of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, and graduated from the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in 2004. He worked as an Inspector of Finances in the Inspectorate General of Finances (IGF) and then became an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque. He was a member of the Socialist Party (PS) from 2006 to 2009 and was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General under François Hollande’s first government in 2012.
He described France’s colonization of Algeria as a crime against humanity and was in 2012 a Young Leader with the French-American Foundation, a pro-American organisation founded in the 1970s by two US members of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014 under the Second Valls Government where he pushed through business-friendly reforms. He resigned in August 2016 to launch a bid in the 2017 presidential election and declared that he would run in the election under the banner of En Marche, a centrist political movement he founded in April 2016. He qualified for the runoff after the first round of the election on 23 April 2017.
He is married to a 64 year-old, Brigitte Trogneux, 24 years his senior, who was his teacher in La Providence high school in Amiens. They first met when he was a 15-year-old student in her drama class, but were officially a couple only after he turned 18. At 17, he promised to marry her. She was at the time 42 years. His then class teacher had a daughter who was his class-mate and everybody, including his parents thought this teacher’s daughter was his girlfriend. His parents initially attempted to separate the couple by sending him away to Paris to finish the final year of his schooling, as they felt his youth made this relationship inappropriate but the couple stayed together after he graduated and eventually were married in 2007.
They got married in 2007 when he was 30 while well she was almost 55. His lovely wife has three children and seven grandchildren. Her first child is two years older than her husband while her second child, the former classmate/sweetheart is the same age as him.