Emmanuel Macron has become France’s youngest ever president, officially taking over from François Hollande.
Macron, a 39-year-old centrist, arrived at the Élysée Palace in central Paris on Sunday in a motorcade and walked down the red carpet under light rain to be greeted by Hollande for his inauguration. The new president’s wife, Brigitte, arrived separately.
A week after his victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a tumultuous election, Macron had a private meeting with Hollande at which he was given the codes to launch France’s nuclear weapons.
Hollande left the Élysée to applause from palace employees and the president of the constitutional council, Laurent Fabius, proclaimed the official result of the vote, formally inaugurating Macron.
Macron formally took power after his predecessor, Socialist Francois Hollande, met with him for one hour and left.
At the end of the formalities, Macron will then be driven to the Arc de Triomphe to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Hollande’s five years in power were plagued by a sluggish economy and bloody terror attacks that killed more than 230 people and he leaves office after a single term.The new president faces a number of daunting challenges, including tackling stubbornly high unemployment, fighting Islamist-inspired violence and uniting a deeply divided country.
The 64-year-old launched Macron’s political career, plucking him from the world of investment banking to be an adviser and then his economy minister. “I am not handing over power to a political opponent, it’s far simpler,” Hollande said on Thursday.
Security was tight with about 1,500 police officers deployed near the presidential palace and the nearby Avenue des Champs-Élysées and surrounding roads were blocked off.
After a formal lunch, Macron will visit Paris’s town hall, a traditional stop for any new French president in his “host” city.