PARIS—Sunday was undoubtedly Emmanuel Macron’s night. In a race watched around the world and billed as a fight for the future of Europe, the 39-year-old centrist candidate, who started and grew his own party in just over a year, defeated the National Front’s Marine Le Pen by a wider-than-expected 30-point margin. “What we’ve done, for so many months, has no precedent, no equivalent,” Macron said, speaking to thousands of supporters in front of the famous pyramid at Paris’s Louvre Museum on Sunday night. “Everyone told us it was impossible, but they didn’t know France.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Paris, Le Pen was conceding the race, vowing a “deep transformation” (and, aides suggested, potentially a name change) for her far-right populist party. “The National Front ... must deeply renew itself in order to rise to the historic opportunity and meet the French people's expectations,” she said, vowing to make her party the primary opposition to Macron in what she called a battle between “patriots” and “globalists.”
Observers across the West may say Macron’s big victory signals the definitive end of far-right populism in France. Coupled with the defeat of the far-right Freedom Party’s candidate in December’s presidential election in Austria, as well as the middling performance of the Dutch Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders in March, it’s certainly clear that right-wing European populists have had a tough time translating their fervent movements into political victories.