At a Sunday inauguration ceremony in the grand reception room at the Élysée Palace in Paris, Emmanuel Macron was officially instated as France’s new president. At age 39, he is the nation’s youngest head of state since Napoleon. Known for founding the independent political movement En Marche!, or “Onward!,” which embodies neither left- nor right-wing policies, Macron campaigned on a platform of uniting France’s partisan divides.
Prior to his career in politics, Macron worked as a civil servant and an investment banker. In 2012, he accepted a role as a senior advisor to then-president Francois Hollande, before becoming Hollande’s Minister of Economy and Finance. In 2015, Macron announced he was leaving the Socialist party to become an independent. Less than a year later, the En Marche! movement was born, much to the distaste of Hollande, who many said felt betrayed by his former prodigy. In August, Macron resigned from his government post, and, by November 2016, he had announced his candidacy for president.
Macron launched his campaign with a speech against “corporatism” and large interest groups, saying: “The challenge is not for me to bring together the left or bring together the right. The challenge is to bring together France.” This same theme echoed in his inauguration speech on Sunday. “My mandate will give the French back the confidence to believe in themselves,” Macron said in front of a crowd of around 300 guests. “The division and fractures in our society must be overcome … Nothing will make me stop defending the higher interests of France.”