Former French PM Manuel Valls pledges allegiance to Emmanuel Macron's movement

15 May, 2017, 09:44 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Thousands demonstrate against new French president Emmanuel Macron

Macron will be inaugurated on Sunday and the centrist's victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen is threatening to rapidly re-draw the French political map.

The euro dropped and French stocks were weaker yesterday as attention turned to the challenges that lie ahead for Mr Macron.

Behind her decision though is a battle for the far-right party's future between the more socially progressive wing led by her aunt and the more Catholic, conservative branch based in the south of France represented by Marechal-Le Pen. The euro fell 0.5 per cent, to US$1.0946 (S$1.53774).

He has said he was aiming for an absolute majority in the lower chamber in June's elections.

His party is changing its name to La Republique En Marche (Republic on the Move) as it prepares a list of candidates. Macron plans to put up candidates across France's 577 constituencies, but Ferrand announced an exception for Socialist ex-prime minister Manuel Valls, a pro-business politician close to Macron on economic policy, and who earlier this week said he wanted to help the 39-year-old ex-banker achieve a majority.

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The other half will be made up of figures from the centrist Modem party with which he struck an alliance, as well as defectors from the centrist factions of the left-wing Socialists and right-wing Republicans. Macron's victory was seen across the world as a victory for supporters of European Union integration over Le Pen's anti-EU proposals which included ditching the euro currency.

Overnight he appeared side-by-side with outgoing president Francois Hollande - his former mentor - at a commemoration of the end of World War II. In August 2014, Hollande named him economy minister within his Socialist government.

The ramifications of Macron's victory were also reverberating through Le Pen's National Front (FN), with the announcement that her influential niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen is quitting politics - for now. Valls had been elected too many times in the past to fit the criteria the party has laid out, Ferrand said.

When Le Pen conceded late Sunday night, Europe breathed a sigh of relief and the United Kingdom held its breath.

"He carries the hopes of millions of French people, and of many people in Germany and the whole of Europe", Ms Merkel said. "And so we have an enormous responsibility vis-a-vis the French people, who trust us", said secretary-general Nicolas Bay.

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