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Emmanuel Macron sworn in as French president
May 14, 2017, 1:23 pm

Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as French president Sunday following his landslide victory a week ago, in which he vowed to unite a country with deepening divisions.

Macron has shaken up French politics with his meteoric rise to the presidency, winning his campaign as an independent and with the backing of a fledgling political party he founded less than a year ago.

At 39, Macron becomes the youngest president in France's history, and the youngest leader since Napoleon. He has little experience in governance, serving as economy minister for two years as his most senior role.

But the young leader has promised to breathe new life into French politics and kickstart the country's sluggish economy. Macron arrived at the Elysee palace Sunday and walked down a red carpet. He was greeted by the outgoing French President Francois Hollande.

In accordance with tradition, Macron escorted Hollande to his car -- a modest hatchback -- to be driven away. Around 300 people have been invited, and among his guests are trade union representatives, Nobel prize winners and 100 friends. He will take the keys to the palace as his La Republique En Marche! party scrambles to get 577 candidates together to contest every seat in the country ahead of the legislative elections on June 11 and 18.

Macron's centrist La Republique En Marche! party, which has never held a single seat in parliament, will be looking to ride the wave of Macron's win in the parliamentary polls so that the president can push his legislative agenda through without having to make deals will other parties.

It named 428 candidates on Thursday, half of them women and more than half from outside the political establishment, fulfilling a party pledge made in January. Of the established politicians, the party has attracted candidates from both the left and right, causing panic among traditional parties facing mass defections.

Just a week since he beat his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the presidential vote, Macron has inherited an extraordinary to-do list and some demanding deadlines. He will first have to name his prime minister and a full Cabinet by Wednesday. In some cases, French presidents have appointed a prime minister on inauguration day. Macron has said he is looking at one male and one female candidate, but gave little clue as to who they might be.

Macron also faces enormous security challenges following a spate of devastating terror attacks, including the Paris attacks in November 2015, in which 130 people were killed. Macron takes the reins from Hollande, who decided not to run for a second term because his popularity has plunged as the country was battered with attacks and the economy failed to pick up.

The young leader won the May 7 election with a resounding 66% of the vote, but his mandate may not be as strong as those numbers suggest. Many in France made it clear that they were casting their votes against Le Pen, rather than for Macron. Macron will be joined by his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, on Sunday, a woman who Macron has portrayed as a mentor. He has said he will likely give his wife an official role in his government.

The wives of French presidents have not typically taken on first lady duties as many do in countries such as the United States.

Source: CNN

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