A star student, a champion in French start up movement,a banker, a financial advisor and now the new French President.
That is Emmanuel Macron for you, France’s youngest president at the age of 39.
Emmanuel Macron is a centrist pro-European whose sensational political career, unorthodox marriage, and promises to modernise France have catapulted him into the French presidency.
He will become the the youngest French leader in modern history, upending tradition that has usually seen voters favour experience in their powerful presidents.
After a campaign based on promises to revive the country through pro-business and pro-European policies, Macron who is a centrist independent defeated far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and her protectionist, anti-immigration party.
It won’t be his first experience in the challenge of reforming France.
He quit his job as a banker at Rothschild to become Socialist President Francois Hollande’s economic adviser, working for two years by Hollande’s side at the presidential palace.
Then as economy minister in Hollande’s government from 2014 to 2016, he promoted a package of measures, notably allowing more stores to open on Sundays and evenings and opening up regulated sectors of the economy.
Opponents on the left accused him of destroying workers’ protections. Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets for months of protests, and the government had to force the law through parliament under special powers.
Last year, Macron launched his own political movement, En Marche, or In Motion, and quit the Socialist government. He promised to shake up the political landscape by appointing a government that includes new figures from business and civil society.
His next challenge will be to get a parliamentary majority in an election next month to make major changes -with no mainstream party to support him.
The strong advocate of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit has called for France to focus on getting benefits from globalization rather than the protectionist policies advocated by the far right.
In his political rallies, he encouraged supporters to wave both the French tricolor and the European Union flags.
His rival Le Pen, who has tapped into working-class anger at the loss of jobs and once-secure futures, called him the face of “the world of finance,” the candidate of “the caviar left.”
“I’m not under control of the banks. If that was the case, I would have kept working for them,” Macron answered.
Macron had an unexpected test of his political skills following the first round of the vote during what became known as “the battle of Whirlpool,” when Le Pen upstaged him at a Whirlpool factory in Amiens that is threatened with closure.
Le Pen’s surprise appearance put him on the defensive and prompted him to meet with angry Whirlpool workers later the same day. He was whistled and booed when he first arrived. But he stood his ground, patiently debating workers in often heated exchanges about how to stop French jobs from moving abroad.
In a country shaken by recent terror attacks, he pledged to boost the police and military as well as the intelligence services and to put pressure on internet giants to better monitor extremism online.
To improve Europe’s security, he wants the EU to deploy some 5,000 European border guards to the external borders of the bloc’s passport-free travel zone.