France's Military Chief of Staff to the presidency Benoit Puga stands next to French President Emmanuel Macron signing a document as he is sworn-in for a second term as president after his re-election, during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Emmanuel Macron was sworn in for his second term as France’s president on Saturday at a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, followed by the firing of canons at the Invalides gardens.

In a country where presidents rarely get re-elected, Macron won 58.5% of the votes in the second round against the far-right’s Marine Le Pen, despite strong opposition to his pro-business policies and a proposal to raise the retirement age.

In a short speech, he spoke of the need to innovate at a time of unprecedented challenges for the world and for France, and said his second term would be “new” and not merely a continuation of the first.

“We need to invent a new method together, far from tired traditions and routines, with which we can build a new productive, social and ecological contract,” he said, promising to act with “respect” and “consideration”.

He highlighted the threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and global environmental concerns.

Among the 500 guests present were former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime ministers Edouard Philippe, Manuel Valls, Alain Juppe and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, as well as religious leaders and other state figures.

Macron’s inauguration marks the end of one electoral campaign and the opening of another – for legislative elections in June.

A newly united political left – a coalition formed between hard-left La France Insoumise, the Parti Socialiste, the Greens and the Communist Party – is hoping to deprive Macron of a majority in parliament.

The right-wing Les Republicains was also due to hold a national council meeting on Saturday.

Macron will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on for “Europe Day” on Monday.

Later in the week, for the first trip abroad since his inauguration, he heads to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Macron, 44, is the first president who does not belong to a coalition government to be re-elected since the formation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

Macron’s new term formally begins on the evening of May 13 and his prime minister, Jean Castex, is still in office.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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