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Breaking: 44-year-old Emmanuel Macron wins French presidential election

French President Emmanuel Macron has defeated his far-right rival Marine Le Pen by a comfortable margin in a runoff election, early projections by pollsters showed, securing a second term.

The first projections showed centrist Macron securing around 57-58 percent of the vote in Sunday’s runoff. Such estimates are normally accurate but may be fine-tuned as official results come in from around the country.

Le Pen, the candidate of the far-right RN (National Assembly), received 41.8 percent of the votes, the highest in her last three unsuccessful presidential bids.

She conceded defeat in a speech shortly after the polling projections were released, but still hailed her result as a “brilliant victory”.

Promising to “carry on” her political career and saying that she would “never abandon” the French, the 53-year-old said: “The result represents a brilliant victory.”

Macron would be the first French president in a generation to win a second term, since Jacques Chirac in 2002.

But he would face a divided nation and a battle to keep his parliamentary majority in legislative elections in June. He is the third ever French president to win two consecutive terms.

Pierre Haski, a veteran political commentator, said the legislative elections – commonly referred to as the third round – will be the new test for the political landscape in France, especially as support for traditional parties has drastically shrunk.

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