Mr Macron (L) is far more popular than his predecessor Francois Hollande (R). (Reuters: Christian Hartmann)
New French President Emmanuel Macron, in his inaugural address, has pledged to work to overcome divisions in society which had been shown by the presidential election campaign and to seek to build a strong France that is sure of itself in the world.
“The division and fractures in our society must be overcome,” said the 39-year-old centrist who was elected on May 7 after beating the far right leader Marine Le Pen following a bitter campaign that was dominated by France’s role in Europe and which blew apart the traditional party structure in France.
“The world and Europe need more than ever France, and a strong France, which speaks out loudly for freedom and solidarity.”
He said under his administration the labour market would be made more flexible, business-friendly conditions would be created to help companies function and “innovation” would be at the heart of his action as President.
On Thursday Mr Macron’s party announced a list of 428 candidates — most of them political unknowns — to fight parliamentary elections in June that will determine his chances of putting his program into action.
Mr Macron held a private meeting with outgoing Socialist president Francois Hollande on state affairs, which included the transfer of access to France’s nuclear missile launch codes, after arriving for the ceremony at the 18th century palace.
He becomes France’s youngest post-war leader and the first to be born after 1958 when President Charles de Gaulle put in place the Fifth Republic.
Mr Macron officially became President when Laurent Fabius, chairman of the constitutional council and a former prime minister, read out the results of the election.