PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday vowed a new start to face immense challenges in foreign and domestic policy, as he was inaugurated for a second term after his election victory over the far right.
In a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Macron was confirmed by Constitutional Council chief Laurent Fabius as the winner of April election and then signed the formal re-investiture document.
Attended by 450 people, including his wife Brigitte and his only surviving predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, the ceremony was relatively modest but marked the first time a French leader is serving a second term in 20 years.
Macron faces a daunting agenda of implementing the reforms he vowed when he came to power as France’s youngest-ever president in 2017, as well as dealing with the Russian assault against Ukraine.
“Rarely has our world and our country been confronted with such a combination of challenges,” he said, referring to the Russian invasion, the pandemic and the ecological emergency.
He vowed to be a “new president” for a “new mandate” and create a “stronger France”.
“Every day of the mandate that lies ahead I will have just one compass point. And that is to serve.”
He also suggested a more inclusive and understanding style of ruling after his first term saw critics complain the former investment banker had abrasive and arrogant methods.
He vowed a “new method” to govern, far from the “worn-out rites and choreography” of the past.
In a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, 21 cannon shots were fired from the Invalides military memorial complex to celebrate the inauguration.
With no drive down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees or long red carpet, the ceremony resembled the re-inaugurations of Francois Mitterrand in 1988 and Jacques Chirac in 2002, the last French president to win a second term.
Macron’s second term will only start officially when the first one expires at midnight on May 13.
He is set to keep playing a leading role in efforts to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine, while he carries an immense burden of expectation as a leader on the European stage with Germany still finding its footing in the post-Angela Merkel era.