(CN) – Centrist Emmanuel Macron has been elected the next president of France, seemingly breaking the nationalist tide that drove the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom last summer and led to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in November.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement minutes after the last polls closed that the vote “testifies to the lucidity of the voters who rejected the deadly project of the extreme right.”
Early reports suggest he’s secured about 65.7 percent of the vote, while his challenger, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen garnered supported from 34.3 percent of the electorate.
If those numbers hold, the electoral gap between the candidates proved significantly wider than the 20 points predicted by pre-election surveys.
Le Pen called Macron to congratulate him moments after the polls closed, but also said the 34 percent of the vote she received — the best-ever showing by a National Front candidate — confirms her party and its allies as the leader of France’s opposition.
She also said she would call for a new political force as legislative elections loom in June.
The win by Macron, who was endorsed by former U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday, is also seen as a victory for the European Union and continued European integration. Le Pen, a far-right nationalist, had threatened to take France out of the EU, a move that likely would have crippled the European body.
On Sunday afternoon President Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his big win today as the next President of France. I look very much forward to working with him!”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer released a more formal statement via email a short time later saying, “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”
The decisive victory by the 39-year-old investment banker, who served for two years as economy minister, appears also to have ended the dominance of France’s mainstream political parties.
France’s Interior ministry said Sunday’s turnout was lower than the last two French national elections.
About 66 percent of French voters participated in Sunday’s election, six points lower than the 72 percent that cast ballots in the 2012 election, and 10 points down from the 75.1 percent who voted in 2007.
According to the BBC, the vote-participation numbers were the lowest going back to 1981.