Paris Breathes a Sigh of Relief as Macron Takes Center Stage
Albanian Daily News
Published May 8, 2017

A fiery dance party broke out in the French capital on Sunday night as Parisian voters celebrated the victory of their new president, Emmanuel Macron.

Thousands gathered in front of the Louvre, waving the tri-colored flag as they embraced one another under a blazing soundtrack of pop music among scantily clad dancers and neon laser lights.

The set was perhaps unconventional for a presidential victory party -- but then again, this was no ordinary election -- nor an ordinary electorate.

Throughout the campaign, Macron's unique political offering spoke to neither the traditional left nor the right, helping shake up an already confused electorate looking for political solutions outside of the norm.

On Sunday night, with 66.06% of the vote secured, Macron overthrew any chance of his opponent, the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, entering a higher political sphere -- and Parisians rejoiced.

It seemed as if the city was released from the plague of a decision unlike any other, collectively embracing a joie de vivre once again, manifested in the form of a new president whose landslide victory was celebrated until the early hours of Monday morning.

In front of two gigantic LED screens with Macron's party logo "En Marche!," a stoic man waving a French flag stood out from a crowd of undulating bodies.

"This is a new story and a new beginning for France," Loic Victor said.

Victor, a 30-year-old international development officer originally from Martinique, a Caribbean island that's an overseas region of France, told CNN he supported Macron from the beginning because he defined a new political class, one that is "not right, not left."

Macron, France's youngest incoming president, was once a political wild card. The 39-year-old centrist independent -- a former investment banker turned government minister who entered the presidential race without the backing of any established party -- garnered a solid footing through his pro-EU stance and promises to reform France's welfare and pension systems.

But there is no doubt that his win was also largely thanks to the traditional left, a group that had no candidate in the second round of voting. Many on the left voted for Macron out of fear of the other option: a country led by Le Pen and her xenophobic, anti-EU extremist National Front party.

At the victory rally, Anas Ammounah, a 29-year-old Syrian refugee, said he was especially on-edge in the weeks leading up to the election.

Along with his wife and daughter, who were reunited in France six months ago, Ammounah waved the French flag as high as his smile was wide. He spoke of the generosity and kindness he received in the 18 months since he arrived in the country as a documented refugee -- and of the fear that it might be stripped away under a Le Pen government.

"We're here to celebrate a victory against Le Pen," he told CNN. "We found that Le Pen would stop immigration and we were scared."

"We hope Macron will stop (Syrian President) Bashar, so we can return to our home," he added.

(Source: CNN)

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