Macron Pick for French Premier about to be Named

In a moment heavy with symbolism, 62-year-old Hollande - who launched Macron's political career by appointing him first as adviser and then economy minister - was then driven away from the palace to applause from his staff and the new president.

Merkel welcomed Macron's decisive 32-point victory over Le Pen, saying he carried "the hopes of millions of French people and also many in Germany and across Europe".

On Sunday, Macron said: "We will need a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe because it's the instrument of our power and our sovereignty, I will work on that".

France's new leader takes over from Francois Hollande, whose record-low levels of support prevented him from seeking re-election. He is the first French president who doesn't originate from one of the country's mainstream parties.

BEARDSLEY: Macron said with the help of the French people, he would turn the economy around and restore French confidence.

Macron's wife Brigitte Trogneux, wearing a powder blue skirt suit, an outfit similar to what US First Lady Melania Trump wore during her husband President Donald Trump's swearing-in in January, entered the Palace ahead of Macron.

During Sunday's palace ceremony, France's armed forces greeted the new state chief with military honours and twenty-one cannon blasts.

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By appointing Philippe, Macron has passed over some loyal followers including Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Macron's cause previous year and is secretary general of REM. On Monday, he is expected to reveal the closely-guarded name of his prime minister, before flying to Berlin to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel. His appointment was seen as a strategic move by 39-year-old Macron, a former minister in the outgoing Socialist government who is trying to woo modernisers of all stripes to his new centrist party, La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM). His visit to Merkel is in keeping with France's presidential tradition of making Berlin the first foreign port of call.

Macron becomes the youngest president in France's history and the youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte was elected in 1848 at age 40. "Long live the Republic and long live France".

An inspection of troops behind the palace will be followed by the 21 gun salute, and the new president will leave the Elysee through a gate topped by a gilded cockerel - a creature symbolic of France for centuries.

He said France's place was in the European Union "which protects us and enables us to project our values in the world" but that the 28-member bloc needed to be "reformed and relaunched".

EVEN though he promised on the election campaign trail that he would be pushing for the European Union to take action to reform itself, French president-elect Emmanuel Macron is far better disposed towards his country remaining in the fold than his main rival Marine Le Pen is, so the bureaucrats of Brussels can breathe a lot more easily in the wake of his success last Sunday.

Macron takes charge of a nation that, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU), will become the only member with nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Macron needs a parliamentary majority to push through his ambitious plans to loosen France's strict labour laws, boost entrepreneurship and reduce class sizes in tough neighbourhoods.

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