Ex-PM Valls swiftly defects to President Macron's party

Ms Marine Le Pen has put on a courageous face following her crushing defeat to Mr Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election, pledging to overhaul her far-right party and turn it into the main opposition to France's new centrist leader.

Guillaume Balas, who coordinated Hamon's platform, said Valls "excluded" himself from the party with his allegiance to Macon's movement.

Hamon vowed to "rebuild the left" with a new "broad-based movement", while saying he meant to remain a member of the Socialist Party.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had openly backed Le Pen, welcomed Macron's victory.

The party of French president-elect Emmanuel Macron is unveiling an eclectic choice of candidates for next month's legislative elections.

The man who will formally become France's youngest president on Sunday has never held elected office.

Despite losing to Mr Macron - securing just around 33.9 per cent of the vote compared with his 66.1 per cent - Ms Le Pen did almost twice as well as her father did when he reached the second round of the election in 2002, though she fell short of the 40 per cent party officials had said would be a success.

The rest will be from the centrist Modem party or rebels from the Socialists and rightwing Republicans - and he will likely need to form a coalition to govern.

Benoit Hamon, the unsuccessful Socialist Party candidate in the presidential contest, said he would set up a new movement after several of his hallmark proposals during that campaign were abandoned by his own party.

If the outcome was a foregone conclusion, the second-round campaign over the past two weeks was nevertheless marked by two changes in the trend lines of support for Macron and Le Pen.

The party does not now hold any seats in the French Parliament.

But Le Pen's 34 percent - a high in any national election for her far-right National Front - confirms her party as a formidable force, its French-first nationalism increasingly accepted by a growing swath of electors despite its history of anti-Semitism and racism. The debate was marked by angry exchanges and insults, especially by Le Pen, that suggested to many viewers that she lacked the gravitas expected of a president. "I'm not living with regrets".

Outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande is due to formally hand over power to Macron on Sunday.

A poll showed that only 52 percent of voters want a pro-Macron government to emerge from the elections, while 42 percent favoured a legislature that would be a check on the new leader.

Optimism seemed muted too, with 55 percent of respondents to the Elabe survey saying they thought Macron would "not improve things for the French people".

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron poses with supporters after a ceremony commemorating the abolition of slavery, in Paris, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

After embracing each member of his government as they left the Elysee Palace for the final time, Hollande said he had not decided what to do after he leaves office.

Macron has outlined an ambitious agenda that would knit together the countries that use the euro currency, through a common euro-zone budget and finance minister.

  • Leroy Wright