ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – France elected Emmanuel Macron on Sunday in an election that had many worried about the entrenchment of divisive politics in Europe.
Macron, the country’s youngest President at 39-years-old, won with a comfortable margin of 66.06 percent to 33.94 percent of the vote.
In his victory speech, Macron said he would “guarantee the unity of the nation” and directly alluded to France’s role in the fight against terrorism.
“France will be at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, for as long as this battle will last and without wavering,” he said Sunday night at a campaign rally in Lyon.
Macron underscored his readiness to face the many challenges ahead, including reforms in France and within the European Union. These issues also extend to the refugee crisis and Turkey.
Macron has previously voiced disagreements with the EU on its handling of Turkey.
During the French presidential campaign in March, Macron “strongly condemned” what he called provocations from the Turkish government.
He also expressed regret France allowed the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to hold a rally for the April referendum in the eastern city of Metz, where he famously referred to the Netherlands as the “capital of fascism.”
Macron had called on his country to support its European partners and “reject the Turkish government’s abuses.”
He criticized the comments by the Turkish authorities as “unacceptable” and accused them of targeting “European values,” Germany, and the Netherlands.
The newly-elected President previously called for more efficiency and cooperation in handling the refugee crisis.
According to Macron, Europe should develop a new strategy to establish welcoming centers in third-party countries and believes asylum requests should be dealt with outside of France.
The comments followed Macron’s early 2017 visit to Berlin, where he congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on taking charge of the refugee crisis and safeguarding the shared values of the EU.
However, he criticized her for unilaterally making a deal with Turkey and reinstating the first EU port of call rule for asylum seekers.
Macron’s victory is likely to boost the EU’s fortunes. He is a liberal centrist, pro-business and globalization, and a staunch supporter of the European Union.
Former French President Francois Hollande, a supporter of the Kurdistan Region, called on voters in April to back centrist Macron in the second round of the presidential election.
Under Hollande, France contributed to the security of the Region by providing financial and humanitarian support following the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.
There are long-term historical relations between Kurdistan and France that go back to the time of Danielle Mitterrand, wife of then President François Mitterrand.
Danielle notably played a significant role in convincing the French government to initiate the resolution in support of the people of the Kurdistan Region during the mass exodus in 1991.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany