Emmanuel Macron's unenviable to do list:
Macron, a pro-European centrist and former banker, takes over a divided country where nearly half of voters backed extremist candidates -- critical of the EU, globalisation and "elites" -- in the first round of the election.
The "two Frances" are divided geographically -- one urban, more affluent and open to reform; the other, concentrated in the northern rustbelt and in disadvantaged areas of the countryside. It was this latter France that voted for Macron's far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen.
Macron knows that many voters backed him not out of conviction but simply to stop Le Pen taking power, and his support could evaporate at the parliamentary elections.
In his speech to French TV on Sutnday night, Macron addressed these divisions: "I understand the anger, the anxiety, the doubts that many of you have expressed. I know the division that drove many to extremes."
But analyst Stephane Rozes of the CAP thinktank thinks Macron's efforts may not be enough to reunite voters. "Will the Macron-Le Pen divide -- which is a national, existential identity divide, not the usual left-right split -- continue into the legislative election? I tend to think so," said Rozes.
The impossible majority?
Macron has promised to move beyond traditional left and right parties to create a new majority in the centre.
He launched his En Marche! (On the Move) party less than a year ago but managed to attract hundreds of thousands of supporters. He finished first in the first round of the election with a quarter of the vote. In the runoff against Le Pen, he notched up 65.9 percent of the vote according to the announcement at 8pm on Sunday.
Now he must convert his extraordinary rise -- unprecedented in recent French history -- into a solid presence in the National Assembly.
After his success in the presidential race, Macron believes that the French people will give him another victory in parliamentary elections, which will take place on June 18th.
But the traditional centre-right, whose candidate Francois Fillon crashed out in the first round amid a fake jobs scandal, hopes to strike back and force Macron into a coalition arrangement in parliament.
The far left, emboldened by the first-round success of candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who took an unexpectedly high 19.6 percent in the first round, is also aiming for a strong showing.
Macron's election event at the Louvre. Photo: AFP.
Distrust for politicians
A recent Cevipof poll indicated that 81% of the French hold negative feelings towards politicians and 89% get the impression their opinions don't matter to their leaders. Some 75% think politicians tend to be corrupted and 58% of the French ask for more transparency from their politicians.
Terrible stats if you are a French politician.
François Fillon's Penelopegate fake jobs scandal may have been the final straw for the French.
“This Presidential campaign is going to be remembered as that of the 'Penelopegate'. Therefore the moralization of public life becomes a priority”, Cevipof think tank researcher Bruno Cautrès told The Local.
“Centrist François Bayrou set exemplarity as deal-breaker before backing Macron in the Presidential race”, he adds.