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President Emmanuel Macron takes charge of France

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Published: 04:30 GMT, May 15, 2017 |
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New French President Emmanuel Macron went for a walkabout outside Paris town hall on Sunday (May 14) to greet well-wishers in the last stop of a busy inauguration day.

He was welcomed by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and pledged to nurture success across the French territory during his five-year term in front of an audience of Parisians.

After a warm welcome from Hollande at the Elysee Palace, the two men held a closed-doors meeting during which Macron was handed the codes to launch France’s nuclear arsenal.

In a moment heavy with symbolism, 62-year-old Hollande -who launched Macron’s political career by appointing him first as advisor and then economy minister – was then driven away from the palace to applause from his staff and the new president.

Macron took power as president of France on Sunday morning, vowing to restore the country’s status in Europe and the world and heal divisions in society — a nod to the bitter campaign the pro-EU centrist fought to defeat a far-right leader.

Macron beat the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in a May 7 run-off vote but the long campaign exposed deep divisions over France’s role in Europe, immigration, and policies to revive a sluggish economy bedevilled by high unemployment.

To underline his European ambitions, Macron will visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday in his first foreign trip.

The new president’s wife Brigitte, a 64-year-old who was his high school drama teacher, listened to his sombre 12-minute speech wearing a light blue Louis Vuitton outfit.