French President Macron invested for a second five-year term – KION546
By Sylvie Corbet
PARIS (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron was sworn in for a second term on Saturday, pledging to first take steps to avoid any further escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine before focusing on promoting peace. France and Europe on the world stage.
Macron was re-elected for five years on April 24 in a runoff that saw him beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
“The time to come will be that of resolute action for France and for Europe,” Macron said. He promised to “first take measures to avoid any escalation following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine”.
Macron pledged to “act relentlessly with one objective, which is to be a more independent nation, to live better and to build our own French and European responses to the challenges of the century”.
Macron also promised to find a “fair method” to govern the country and ease social tensions by making the government and parliament work with unions, associations and other people from the political, economic, social and cultural world.
For a president comfortable talking for hours, Macron’s speech was surprisingly short – and handwritten. But afterwards, he took his time shaking hands, exchanging kisses on the cheek and chatting individually with dozens of guests.
While he presided over strict lockdowns and coronavirus vaccination mandates as the pandemic swept through France, most restrictions have now been lifted and there were no signs of masks or social distancing during the inauguration.
The event seemed unusually child-friendly for French presidential ceremonies, with several dignitaries bringing their children – and at least two in pushchairs. Macron, 44, has no children but has stepchildren and grandchildren, some of whom were there.
About 500 guests were invited to the ceremony. They came mainly from the political world, but also included actors, health workers, military officers and former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. Most of those who received a coveted invitation to the event were white men in suits, despite growing pressure for diversity in French politics.
Upon his arrival in the Elysée reception hall, Macron gave a nod to his wife, Brigitte Macron.
The President of the Constitutional Council read the results of the election and Macron received the necklace of Grand Master of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, before delivering his speech.
He then went to the gardens of the Elysée and listened to 21 cannon shots fired from the Place des Invalides to mark the event, in accordance with tradition.
Macron also reviewed the army. The troops present at the ceremony included part of the crew of Le Monge, the second largest ship in the French Navy which is key to France’s nuclear deterrent. It was notably used for testing the M51 missiles launched by French nuclear-capable submarines.
The symbol can be seen as a show of force at a time when France is deeply involved in efforts to stop Russia’s war against Ukraine, including by sending truck-mounted guns and other heavy weapons.
Macron’s second term will officially begin on May 14.
Angela Charlton contributed to this story.
Follow AP coverage of the 2022 French presidential election at https://apnews.com/hub/french-election-2022