Money & Power
7 Interesting Facts About the New French President
Learn more about Emmanuel Macron, his background, his controversial marriage, and his ideas.
IMAGE Pablo Tupin-Noriega / Wikimedia France
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1. He comes from a family of doctors.

His parents Jean-Michel Macron and Françoise Macron-Noguès are physicians. His father is a neurologist who earned his education at the prestigious Henri-IV public secondary school, while his mother is a pediatrician. His two younger siblings both followed their parents’ paths into medicine.

2. He was an investment banker for four years.

After graduating from college with a philosophy degree from the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre and receiving postgraduate degrees at Sciences Po and ENA college, Macron worked as an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie for four years. There, he accumulated his wealth and regularly met with the political elite.

3. He first worked as the presidential economic adviser under President François Hollande.

He may have first crossed paths with President François Hollande in 2006, but it was only after Macron's stint as a banker that he accepted the invitation to serve as the president's deputy chief of staff and then as presidential economic adviser. Later, the French president asked him to take on the role of minister of economy, industry, and digital data.

As minister, Macron backed businesses, supported the European Union, and convinced many foreign innovators to move to France.

4. He authored the ambitious “Loi Macron” or Macron Law, a series of liberal economic reforms.

To raise France's economic status, Macron passed his first law with the help of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The law frees up sectors that are restricted in business, allowing more lenient regulations for bus lines, notaries, and bailiffs. It simplifies the employee termination procedure. And it encourages more shops to open on Sundays, especially in tourist areas.

Many were not too pleased with its pro-business stance, given that it veers away from the country’s socialist values. But Macron saw it as a way to boost economic growth by lessening rules and restrictions in local businesses.

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5. His marriage sparked controversy.

Macron first met his wife Brigitte Trogneux when he was 15 years old. She was his drama teacher and 24 years older than he was. At the time, she was married and with three children, one of them being Macron's classmate in school. After Trogneux’s divorce, the couple married in 2007. Some have said that Trogneux influences Macron’s political values, as he prioritizes education.

Just before election day, the couple’s marriage underwent a test of fire when the media attacked their union for its huge age gap and the fact that she was his former teacher.

6. He defected from the side of his mentor, François Hollande, and started his own political party, En Marche!

Although he had a position in a government dominated by the socialist party, Macron was not pleased with the system and broke away from Hollande to start his own centrist party, En Marche!, which translates to Onward! He aimed to bridge the ideologies of both left- and right- wing parties and started his campaign by knocking on door to door and interviewing voters about what change they want to see. The En Marche volunteers asked around 25,000 interviewees what works and what doesn’t in France, in a campaign patterned to that of Barack Obama’s in 2008.

7. At 39, he is France’s youngest president.

Not many had ever expected Macron to run for president so early in the game, but on May 7, 2017, he won the title in a landslide victory against far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen, with 66.1 percent of the votes. However, voter turnout was the lowest in over 40 years.

After the announcement of his win, Macron said in a speech, “Tonight you won, France won. Everyone told us it was impossible, but they don’t know France.”

Tout le monde nous disait que c'était impossible. Mais ils ne connaissaient pas la France !

A post shared by Emmanuel Macron (@emmanuelmacron) on

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Hannah Lazatin
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