French Jews 'relieved' Macron won, anxious over Le Pen's gains

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Emmanuel Macron is the next president of France, defeating his far right rival Marine Le Pen by a comfortable 65.1% to 34.9% (according to a usually reliable vote estimate by pollsters Ispos/Sopra Steria for French state TV and radio and Le Monde).

Similar cables of congratulations were sent by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense. Sunday's election also boasted an abstention rate over 25 percent, the news service added, seemingly indicating high dissatisfaction with the candidates.

The legislative election will take place on June 11 and June 18.

Many voters who had supported other candidates in the election's first round reluctantly cast runoff ballots for Macron only to prevent Le Pen from entering the Elysee Palace.

Amid a sea of red, white, and blue tricolor flags at a victory party outside the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, Macron said the country was turning a page in its history and pledged to the thousands in attendance to defend France and Europe and "rebuild links between Europe and its citizens".

Ludovine de La Rochère, the movement's president, called on conservative voters not to back Macron, although she refused to endorse Le Pen.

On the financial front, European stock markets edged down in early trading as investors had been widely expecting Macron's victory.

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"Happy that the French chose a European future", European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Twitter.

Trump did not endorse any candidate in the election, though many believed he supported Le Pen after comments he made in April in apparent praise of the far-right candidate's tough stance on immigration.

Macron's 577 candidates in the elections are expected to be announced Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not address National Front's gains in the vote in a standard statement congratulating Macron.

Whatever Le Pen's defeat means for populism's long-term future, Macron's victory can not disguise the fact that France remains a deeply-riven society on a number of issues and those divisions are not going to go away anytime soon.

In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said Macron's election makes it even more important for British voters to back her Conservatives and strengthen Britain's hand in European Union exit talks.

Macron's positions on Israel, its conflict with the Palestinians and the Middle East in general correspond with those of the government of France's outgoing president, Francois Hollande, Macron told a predominantly Jewish crowd in March during a town hall meeting organized in Paris by CRIF.

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