Al Jazeera spoke to residents of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern Paris suburb, and people in Menilmontant, a neighbourhood in the capital’s 20th arrondissement, about France’s crucial presidential vote.
Here is what they had to say as they woke up to the republic’s youngest ever president, the 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, who beat out his far-right rival Marine Le Pen a day earlier.
Macron won with more than 65 percent to Le Pen’s 35 percent.
Junior, 33, driver
|I did not vote at all, neither in the first nor second round [Raymond Bobar/Al Jazeera]|
I did not vote at all, neither in the first nor second round. I don’t feel represented by the political establishment. I voted for Francois Hollande in the last election.
People in France should be able to work, go to school, have access to jobs and education.
Racism is an enormous problem, there is a lot of discrimination even if you don’t see it. It’s according to your social class. Macron defends the banks’ interests.
To vote for Macron would be to vote for globalisation. Le Pen divides people. We had to choose between dividing people and enriching the banks.
Ben Fikih, 75, retired
|The sun is for everyone, we are just passengers in this world [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]|
Macron’s victory means hope for the French state. He’s the youngest president we’ve had. God is with him. I hope he will govern with dignity, fraternity and freedom.
I don’t know Macron well, but he’s the future of the French people. There are millions of immigrants here – France is mixed.
The sun is for everyone, we are just passengers in this world. Le Pen’s party members are like the Nazis, it’s in their blood.
She [Marine Le Pen] has a face like a lemon, she’s like a scorpion. She can bite you. She’s racist. For a lot of people racism is hidden, but not for her.
|My parents were immigrants. They voted for Macron [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]|
I voted blank in the first round and yesterday for Marine. I don’t know Macron. I don’t know who he is, I just heard about him in this election but it’s unclear what he stood for.
Marine doesn’t like immigrants, but I’m not an immigrant. I don’t have anything to fear from her. My parents were immigrants. They voted for Macron.
That’s what we call freedom of expression. I’m not disappointed she didn’t win.
I don’t think either of them can do much for France.
I agree with what some of Marine says, but disagree with other things. I’m not okay [with her rhetoric about minorities]. I live here, I have Muslim friends.
Manar, works in a bakery
I didn’t vote. There wasn’t anyone who represented me. I didn’t want Le Pen to win, but what Macron is putting forward does not respond to the issues I care about.
I voted for [Jean-Luc] Melenchon in the first round. I feel relieved about Macron winning, but he was not my candidate.
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he does.
Cecile, 21, design student
I voted yesterday. I voted for Macron in both rounds and I’m happy. He’s ambitious, audacious, courageous.
He’s trustworthy, I hope.
The rise of the far right in this election was scary. It’s reflective of an anger that is growing in this country.
Caroline, resident of Menilmontant
|There’s no ideal candidate these days [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]|
I didn’t vote in the first round and I voted for Macron in the second round. He’s a young president. We want to believe in him.
There’s no ideal candidate these days. Everyone is playing to get in the highest position, so why not him?
Deborah, 27, PhD student of sociology
|France’s greatest issues are austerity and liberalisation [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]|
I’m relatively happy with the result. Like many people, I didn’t vote with conviction for Macron.
I was hesitating between Melenchon and Hamon in the first round. I voted for Hamon in the end.
France’s greatest issues are austerity and liberalisation.
Source: Al Jazeera News