25 Apr 2022

French election: Macron defeats Le Pen, but faces battle to unite France

Europe Editor and Presenter

The relief was almost audible – as the German chancellor, the American president and Boris Johnson lined up to offer their congratulations to Emmanuel Macron.

A victory for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, whose admiration for Vladimir Putin still lingers, would have been a hammer blow to the Western alliance.

All the more surprising then that Mr Putin also sent his good wishes to Mr Macron.

There were few warm words, though, for the French president back home.

He leads a bitterly divided country where the extremes have just about been kept at bay for now.