The founder of the political movement “En Marche!”, Emmanuel Macron, announced his victory in the first round of French presidential election, saying that he was determined “to become the president for all the French people.”
“As our country faces unprecedented moments, marked by terrorism, economic problems, suffering of the people, the citizens of France have had their say and gave the most beautiful answer by coming to the polling stations en masse,” he said at his electoral headquarters in Paris on Sunday evening.
“They (the people) decided to put me to the first place in the first round of this vote, and I appreciate the honor and great responsibility that was bestowed on me,” Macron continued.
He described the vote as a milestone in France’s political history.
“The people of France rejected the candidates from the two major parties that ruled the country in the past 30 years,” he said. “I thank Francois Fillon (of the Republicans) and Benoit Hamon (of the Socialist party) for the support.”
“Right now, friends, we need to make France even more united to win two weeks later and rule our country,” Macron added. “Starting from tomorrow, I will launch a campaign to unite all citizens of France.”
The politician, who styled himself as a progressive leader who is “neither left nor right,” vowed to create a broad coalition of “progressive forces” to run in the June parliamentary polls.
“The people of France voted to see a renewal, and from now on we will be guided by the policy of unions, and will continue doing so until the parliamentary polls. We think that the most important thing now is to continue working in order to get the broadest majority possible and unite all progressive forces,” he said.
With some 40 million ballots counted, Macron is leading the French presidential race with 23.54% of the vote, followed by far-right leader Marine Le Pen with 22.33%. The country has more than 45 million of registered voters in total. The Interior Ministry estimates the turnout to be at about 70%.