By Juliana Agbo with Agency Report
39-year-old Emmanuel Macron yesterday took the oath of office as president of France, with a pledge to overcome division in societies.
Macron, a centrist France’s youngest ever president, took over from President Francois Hollander, the socialist whose five years in power were plagued by unemployment and attacks.
He had beaten his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, to the presidency, winning more than 65 per cent of votes in the May 7, 2017 election.
“The whole world has watched our presidential election,” Macron said in his inaugural speech as president, which took place at the Elysee Presidential Palace.
“The world and Europe have today, more than ever, a need for France. They want a France that is sure of its destiny. The world needs what French men and woman have always taught it — freedom, equality and fraternity”, he added.
He said France was not in decline, but at the start of an “extraordinary renaissance”, assuring that he would boost employment, protect companies and engage with French people who feel ignored.
“Republican secularism will be defended. We must find the deep meaning of what unites us today … France is only strong if it is prosperous”, Macron stated.
Francois Hollande is delighted at the election of the former investment banker. He launched Macron’s political career, and brought him from the world of investment banking to be an advisor and then his economic minister.
“I am not handing over power to a political opponent, it’s far simpler”, Hollande said.
Meanwhile, Macron is expected to reveal the closely-guarded name of his prime minister on today before flying to Berlin to meet German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
It is virtually a rite of passage for French leaders to make their first European trip to meet the leader of the other half of the so-called “motor” of the EU.
Pro-EU Macron wants to push for closer cooperation to help the bloc overcome the imminent departure of Britain, another of its most powerful members.