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Macron vows to heal a divided France

15 May 2017

France's Emmanuel Macron arrived for his inauguration ceremony at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris this morning ready to fully embark on his mission to shake up the world of French politics.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier French President Emmanuel Macron (L) escorts former President Francois Hollande who leaves after the handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 14, 2017.

In his inaugural address, Macron pledged to work to overcome divisions in society which had been shown by the presidential election campaign and seek to build a strong France that was sure of itself in the world.

But he was outgoing president Francois Hollande's economic adviser for more than two years and is deeply familiar with inner workings of the administration.

The year-old political movement "Republique en Marche" (Republic on the Move, REM) that he formed to launch his presidential bid intends to field candidates in virtually every constituency in the country. They helped make Hollande the least popular French president in modern history. "Philippe is an authority on EU affairs and a promoter of Franco-German friendship", Martin Selmayr, the head of cabinet for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said on Twitter.

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At 39, the pro-EU former investment banker will become France's youngest-ever president after crushing far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the run-off on Sunday, but he faces a formidable challenge to enact his policy programme while trying to unite a fractured and demoralised country.

The youngest daughter of France's new first lady has accused political opponents of "jealousy" for launching what she called misogynistic attacks on Brigitte Macron.

Mr Macron is seeking a majority of lawmakers so he can pass his programs.

France, he maintained, was buffeted by world trends and changes, but said he would do everything to "convince French people they have inside of them all the resources to count among the first-ranking nations" in the world.

Macron also said that, on his first official foreign visit as French president, he planned to travel to neighboring Germany.

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Macron will name a prime minister on Monday and the new government will be announced on Tuesday, a source said.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann Former French President Francois Hollande waves from his auto as President Emmanuel Macron (Rear) watches after the handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 14, 2017.

At the ceremony, Macron walked up the red carpet to the palace steps and exchanged a ceremonial handshake with Hollande.

It was revealed that the suit he wore for his inauguration cost a modest €450 (£381), in an apparent attempt to dissociate himself from "bling-bling" politics.

"In order to be the man of one's country, one must be the man of your time", Fabius told him, quoting the Romantic-era French writer Chateaubriand.

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Macron vows to heal a divided France