French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said she would keep up the fight against Emmanuel Macron just as she conceded defeat in the presidential election.
An Ipsos poll gave Mr Macron 58.2% of the vote and Marine Le Pen 41.8%, a decisive victory despite doubts about the current president’s handling of the economy and ability to connect with voters, and despite a lower-than-usual turnout.
“I will continue the fight for France and the French people,” Ms Le Pen told supporters in a defiant speech shortly after the exit poll was announced on Sunday evening.
“I fear the next five years will not break with the contempt and the brutal policies of the last five years and Emmanuel Macron will do nothing to repair the divisions in our country.”
Ms Le Pen said she would never abandon the French people and said she would lead the campaign for the parliamentary elections.
She had previously talked about resigning and leaving politics if she lost this election.
“The ideas we represent have reached new heights… this result itself represents a brilliant victory,” Ms Le Pen said and as she told supporters she would continue to fight against Mr Macron’s social policy and immigration views.
Ms Le Pen was able to break through the threshold of 40 per cent of the vote which is unprecedented for the French’s far-right.
She was previously beaten 66 per cent to 34 per cent by President Macron in 201 and her father received less than 20 per cent against Mr Chirac.
Macron thanks supporters after winning re-election bid
She and hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, one of 10 candidates eliminated in the first round on 10 April, both quickly pitched forward Sunday night to France’s legislative election in June, urging voters to give them a parliamentary majority.
Ms Le Pen’s score this time rewarded her years-long efforts to make her far-right politics more palatable to voters. Campaigning hard on cost-of-living issues, she made deep inroads among blue-collar voters in disaffected rural communities and in former industrial centers.
Talking to cheering supporters at the Eiffel Tower, Mr Macron said: “I’m not the candidate of one camp any more, but the president of all of us.”
He added: “I will work for a more just society and equality between men and women. We need to show respect because our country is so divided… no one will be left by the wayside.”
If the projections hold, Mr Macron will become only the third president since the founding of modern France in 1958 to win twice at the ballot box, and the first in 20 years, since the then incumbent Jacques Chirac trounced Ms Le Pen’s father in 2002.
Mr Macron faces enormous domestic and international challenges, but is constitutionally barred from running for a third term and will face less political pressure in his second term.
He won the vote with the support of the left, and he will need at least some of their support ahead of parliamentary elections in June. Many of those who voted for Mr Macron in the second round did so less out of support for him than for fear of his opponent, Ms Le Pen.