Emmanuel Macron said that his reelection marked a “fundamental democratic renaissance” as he was sworn in for a second term of office as president of France at a ceremony at the Elysée Palace.
Macron, who defeated his far right rival, Marine Le Pen, in the second round vote two weeks ago, entered on Saturday to the strains of Handel played by the Garde Républicaine’s string quartet and listened as the official results were read.
“From the return of war to Europe to the pandemic and the ecological emergency, rarely has our country been faced with such a combination of challenges. The French people have chosen a clear and explicit project for the future, a European project of independence, scientific, social and ecological progress,” he told the 500 guests in a relatively brief acceptance speech,
“It’s at the most difficult times that France shows the best of itself. At this moment when the century is changing, we have to map out a path and show a way forward together,” he said.
“Let us have the courage to look reality in the face. Let us be faithful to the values of freedom, equality, fraternity and secularism. Let us continue to love the Republic and all that it entails. Let us love our homeland.”
He insisted his second five-year term would not be a simple continuation of the first mandate but would be a “new method”. He pledged “to act” to create a “more inclusive” education system, and “a health service accessible everywhere” as well as greater sexual equality and a stronger military.
“I have one aim and that is to serve, to serve our country … to serve my compatriots with a sense of duty … to serve our children and youngsters,” he said.
Afterwards he shook hands with many of the guests who included former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande as well as current members of his cabinet all facing a reshuffle in the coming days.
He then walked to the Elysée gardens to honour the Tricolor while the Marseillaise was played followed by a 21-gun salute fired from Les Invalides military complex.
Macron, 44, who won the election on 24 April with a score of 58.55% against Le Pen, is now expected to name a new prime minister to replace Jean Castex as well as other ministers. Gabriel Attal, the government spokesperson, told France 2 the government would not change before Macron’s second mandate officially begins on 13 May.
Saturday’s ceremony came after the Parti Socialiste along with the Greens/Ecologists and Communists formed a historic alliance for next month’s two-round parliamentary elections under the leadership of the radical left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), who came a close third in the presidential election.
Various centrist and centre-right factions have rallied to Macron under the slogan Ensemble (Together); the president has changed the name of his La République en Marche (Republic on the Move) party – formed to sweep him to power five years ago – to Renaissance.
Macron now faces a battle to retain control of the French parliament in what will be his final five years in power.