French President Emmanuel Macron easily defeated his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen on Sunday, gaining a second term and averting a political earthquake.
Joyous applause erupted as the results were displayed on a massive screen at the Champ de Mars park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, where Mr Macron’s supporters waved French and EU flags.
People exchanged hugs and screamed “Macron.”
A group of despondent Ms Le Pen fans, on the other hand, exploded in boos and whistles at a huge reception hall on the outskirts of Paris.
Ms Le Pen admitted defeat but vowed to keep up the fight, with the June parliamentary elections in mind.
“I will never abandon the French,” she said to supporters chanting “Marine! Marine!”
The first pollsters’ projections showed Mr Macron securing around 57-58 per cent of the vote.
Such estimates are normally accurate but may be fine-tuned as official results come in from around the country throughout the evening.
But Mr Macron can expect little to no grace period after many, especially on the left, only voted for him reluctantly to block the far-right from winning.
Protests that marred part of his first mandate could erupt again quite quickly, as he tries to press on with pro-business reforms.
“We will not spoil the victory … but (Le Pen’s) National Rally has its highest score ever,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told BFM TV.
“There will be continuity in government policy because the president has been reelected.
”But we have also heard the French people’s message,” he added, pledging change.
The first major challenge will be the parliamentary elections in June and opposition parties on the left and right will immediately start a major push to try to vote in a parliament and government opposed to Mr Macron.
Philippe Lagrue, 63, technical director at a theatre in Paris, said earlier in the day he had voted for Mr Macron after voting for the hard-left Jean-Luc Melenchon in the first round.
Mr Macron will join a small club – only two French presidents before him have managed to secure a second term.