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Letters: The electoral arithmetic of Macron's victory means a bumpy ride

14 May 2017

NEW YORK, May 8 Stocks dipped and the euro fell on Monday from highs touched after pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron's emphatic and expected victory in France's presidential election as investors cashed in recent gains.

On Sunday, FN presidential candidate Marine Le Pen lost to Macron with 33.9 percent of the votes against his 66.1 percent.

France's economic malaise, especially high unemployment, had undermined the popularity of outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande to the point where he decided not even to run again as a candidate.

Although the National Front can count on a loyal base, it has only two seats in the current Lower House of Parliament, and a poll last week predicted the party would win only around 15 to 25 seats in next month's elections.

And opposition politicians like Le Pen and Wilders have gained a stronger platform from which to promote their messages.

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Macron's party chief, Richard Ferrand, told a news conference his "En Marche!" movement will now change its name to "En Marche la République" or "Republic on the Move", so as to structure itself more like a traditional party.

Reuters reported that more than 11 percent of voters chose neither Macron nor Le Pen.

King Salman sent a cable of congratulations to Macron expressing his best wishes to him and the people of France.

It was the first time the men had appeared in public together since Mr Macron resigned in August 2016 as Mr Hollande's economy minister to run for president - a decision that was received coldly by the French leader at the time. Le Pen favored ditching the euro and creating stricter business-protectionist measures and a large reduction in immigration.

Sylvie Goulard, a French deputy to the European Parliament, said Macron would make Berlin, Germany, his first official visit, with perhaps a stop to see French troops stationed overseas as well.

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Nigel Farage, former leader of Britain's UKIP party and a leading campaigner for Brexit, said what many in Europe may be thinking when Sunday night celebrations wear off: "If Marine sticks in there, she can win in 2022".

Despite his overwhelming victory Sunday, a quarter of the French electorate didn't vote, another potentially troubling sign for Macron.

"The French election is now out of the way", said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described his victory as "a victory for a strong and united Europe and for French- German friendship". The euro earlier touched a six-month high of $1.1024.

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The Liberal Democrats were having a mixed election, failing to breakthrough against the Tories in the south-west England battleground.

Letters: The electoral arithmetic of Macron's victory means a bumpy ride