In Brief

French presidential election: Macron now faces economic test

Landslide victory will be pointless if En Marche! leader fails in his reform plans, warn experts

Emmanuel Macron won a landslide victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election yesterday, but questions are being raised over his ability to follow through on his election pledges.

"Many analysts are already saying that if [he] fails to deliver on economic promises over the next five years, then the challenge from the National Front could be even stiffer come the 2022 election," says the BBC.

Macron spent three years as economy minister during the presidency of Francois Hollande and is a former investment banker, so "his economic credentials formed a big part of his campaign".

However, reforming France's stringent labour laws has beaten many a president down the years.

Macron campaigned on a pledge to reform the single currency eurozone area, but his plans involve even greater integration in the form of "a common eurozone budget and a eurozone finance minister too".

In that respect, French voters have given a ringing endorsement of the European project that Brexit had seemed to imperil. The MSCI World index, the global benchmark index, hit a record high in the wake of the result.

"Everyone in the world who wants to believe in liberal democracy's capacity to regenerate itself will breathe a mighty sigh of relief," says the Financial Times's Tony Barber.

But Macron's trial will come at home - and this will prove arguably the greater challenge.

France's next president wants to make permanent tax cuts for businesses while cutting public spending, which he hopes to achieve by adjusting pension payments to better reflect contributions and cutting government jobs.

He also wants to liberalise employment laws so companies can negotiate deals with staff on hours and pay in an effort to reduce unemployment.

As with many presidents before him, Macron is facing the threat of strikes by unions, while his fledgling party En Marche! has a challenge ahead of it to get the parliamentary majority he needs to push his plans forward at next month's elections.

"Without a majority, he will have a less-convincing mandate for the pro-business measures, labour market reforms and overhaul of the state that form the core of his economic programme," says the FT.

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