French prime minister: Macron won French presidential election

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron acknowledges applauses after his speech during a meeting in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. Untested former budget minister Emmanuel Macron, who rebelled against his Socialist masters to strike out on his own, could end up facing far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the second-round vote. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — The French prime minister says Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election.

This puts a 39-year-old political novice at the helm of one of the world’s biggest economies and slowing a global populist wave.

The agencies projected that Macron defeated far-right leader Marine Le Pen 65 percent to 35 percent on Sunday.

If confirmed, Le Pen’s showing would nonetheless be stronger than her National Front party has seen in its 45-year history.

The projections are based on vote counts in selected constituencies, then extrapolated nationwide.

Macron would be the youngest French president ever.

But Le Pen’s projected showing, unusually low turnout and the record number of blank ballots are an indication of the headwinds facing Macron, a former economy minister who started his own political movement only a year.

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