PARIS — Officials across Europe swiftly reacted with a sigh of relief on Sunday after President Emmanuel Macron of France comfortably beat his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, in the presidential election.
“Together, we will advance France and Europe,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, wrote in English on Twitter.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, wrote on Twitter that “we can count on France for five more years,” while Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany said Mr. Macron’s re-election was a “vote of confidence in Europe.”
Mr. Macron’s office said on Sunday that Mr. Scholz had called Mr. Macron to congratulate him. “It is the first call that the president has received and taken, a sign of Franco-German friendship,” his office said.
At home, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Mr. Macron’s foreign minister, told France 2 television that he was “convinced” Mr. Macron would be “up to the challenges that await.”
Final results are not yet published, but French pollsters project that Mr. Macron has won with roughly 58 percent of the vote. Still, his political opponents warned that his next term would have to take into account the simmering anger in the French electorate, as the far right won more of the vote than it has in decades.
“There has never been such a vote of despair,” Christian Jacob, the head of the conservative Républicain party, said on French television.
Roughly 28 percent of the French electorate sat out this round of the election — the highest level in over 50 years in the second round of a presidential vote.
“He is floating in a sea of abstention, and blank or null ballots,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the firebrand leftist who came in a strong third in the first round of the elections early this month, said in a speech on Sunday of Mr Macron.
Mr. Mélenchon hopes to become prime minister if his party gets a strong majority in the parliamentary elections, to be held in June. “The third round starts tonight,” he said.
Top European leaders had expressed barely veiled alarm at the possibility of a Le Pen victory. Last week, the leaders of Germany, Portugal and Spain had taken the highly unusual step in an opinion article in Le Monde of implicitly urging French voters to reject her.
On Sunday, Christian Lindner, the finance minister in Germany, said a united Europe was the biggest winner. “This choice was a directional choice,” he wrote on Twitter. “It was about fundamental questions of values.”
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain welcomed Mr. Macron’s victory as proof that the French want “a free, strong and just EU”
Officials outside of the European Union reacted, as well.
President Volodomyr Zelensky of Ukraine also congratulated Mr. Macron on his victory, calling him a “real friend of Ukraine” on Twitter. “I appreciate his support and I am convinced that we will move forward together toward new shared victories,” he wrote.
And, Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank, extended her “warmest congratulations” to Mr. Macron.
“Strong leadership is essential in these uncertain times and your tireless dedication will be much needed to tackle the challenges we are facing in Europe,” Ms. Lagarde wrote on Twitter.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain tweeted that “France is one of our closest and most important allies.”
“I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world,” Mr. Johnson wrote.
Liz Alderman and Raphael Minder contributed reporting.
April 24, 2022
An earlier version of this article misstated the position of Christine Lagarde. She is the head of the European Central Bank, not the head of the International Monetary Fund.