Emmanuel Macron, youngest French leader since Napoleon, sworn in

Emmanuel Macron, youngest French leader since Napoleon, sworn in

Emmanuel Macron, youngest French leader since Napoleon, sworn in

In ceremonies marked by youthful optimism and old-world Napoleonic pomp, Emmanuel Macron swept into office Sunday as France's new president pledging to fortify the European Union, redesign French politics and glue together his divided nation.

At 39, Macron becomes the youngest president in France's history, and the youngest leader since Napoleon.

Macron had been Hollande's top economy adviser at the Elysee from 2012 to 2014, then became his economy minister until a year ago, when he made a decision to quit the Socialist government and launch his independent presidential bid.

A former economy minister with pro-business, pro-European views, Macron quit Hollande's Socialist government previous year to launch his independent bid. Macron founded En Marche! Since the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum and US President Donald Trump's election previous year, populism has posed an existential threat to the European Union.

Hollande hosted Macron for a final private conversation at the Elysee Palace before his departure.

Before the ceremony began, he spent almost an hour with his predecessor, who handed him the country's nuclear codes.

In the first round of voting, more than 45 percent chose Le Pen or other candidates who promised different medicine, such as closing the wealth gap by rolling back globalization, shutting borders and rejecting the EU.

Israeli police shoot dead Palestinian in East Jerusalem
He spoke just days before Trump starts a Middle East trip that includes meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The two countries spar sometimes over Israeli policy in east Jerusalem , captured and annexed by Israel in 1967.

"The world and Europe need France more than ever", Macron said in a brief speech to a packed Elysee ballroom filled with the country's political elite, his supporters and his family, after Hollande departed the presidential palace for the last time in a modest Citroen sedan.

Emmanuel Macron has been sworn in as the new president of France in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. As president, Macron acts as the top commander of France's armed forces and received the country's nuclear codes.

France has some 300 nuclear warheads, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

French President Emmanuel Macron listens during his formal inauguration ceremony as French President.

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At the end of the formalities, a 21-gun salute is to ring out from the Invalids military hospital on the other side of the River Seine. Macron also suggested he would press on with his ambitious agenda to reform France's rigid labor market and modernize the social security system despite the fierce resistance he is likely to meet.

The next challenge for the centrist leader's movement is to win 290 seats in the legislative elections next month in order to secure a majority. Half have never held elected office, including a retired female bullfighter and a star mathematician, and half are women. It has announced an initial list of 428 candidates for the 577 seats up for grabs in France's lower house of parliament in the vote on June 11 and 18. Symbolically, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be the first foreign leader he will meet as president, in Berlin on Monday.

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