PARIS (AP) — France's newly elected president has started taking on his new role, working on the attitude expected of a statesman — a new world for a man with little political experience who long remained in the shadows.
Moments after his victory on Sunday, Emmanuel Macron, 39, slowly walked to the stage in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris, progressively appearing in the light to the sound of the European anthem "Ode to Joy" — a very symbolic moment before the crowd of supporters roared.
On Monday morning he appeared side-by-side with outgoing president Francois Hollande — his former mentor — at a commemoration of the end of World War II.
Macron was literally introduced into politics by Hollande, who chose him as his economy adviser during his 2012 winning campaign.
He followed Hollande to the Elysee palace, becoming one of his top advisers for two years. In August 2014, Hollande named him economy minister within his Socialist government.
The two men separated when Macron quit in August 2016 to prepare his presidential bid.
The man who will formally become France's youngest president on Sunday has never held elected office.
He campaigned on pro-business and pro-European policies, a risky move when a populist wave recently swept Donald Trump into the White House and led Britain to vote to leave the EU would also carry her to France's presidential Elysee Palace.
In his victory speech, Macron vowed to "rebuild the relationship between Europe and the peoples that make it." He pledged to open a new page for France based on hope and "restored confidence."
In his political rallies, he encouraged supporters to wave both the French tricolor and the European Union flags, and asked them not to boo his rivals, rather fight their ideas.
An investment banker at Rothschild for almost four years, he was accused by far-right rival Marine Le Pen of being the face of "the world of finance."
"I'm not under control of the banks. If that was the case, I would have kept working for them," Macron answered.
His next challenge will be to get a parliamentary majority in an election next month — with no mainstream party to support him.
He launched his own political movement last year and pledged to present a candidate in every district under his "Republic on the Move" new banner.
The strong advocate of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit has called for France to be more innovative and focus on getting benefits from globalization.
It won't be his first experience in the challenge of reforming France.
As economy minister he promoted a package of measures, notably allowing more stores to open on Sundays and evenings and opening up regulated sectors of the economy.
Opponents on the left accused him of destroying workers' protections. Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets for months of protests, and the government had to force the law through parliament under special powers.
He promised to shake up the political landscape by appointing a government that includes new figures from business and civil society.
Macron had an unexpected test of his political skills following the first round of the vote during what became known as "the battle of Whirlpool," when Le Pen upstaged him at a Whirlpool factory in Amiens that is threatened with closure.
Le Pen's surprise appearance put him on the defensive and prompted him to meet with angry Whirlpool workers later the same day. He was whistled and booed when he first arrived. But he stood his ground, patiently debating workers in often heated exchanges about how to stop French jobs from moving abroad.
In a country shaken by recent terror attacks, he pledged to boost the police and military as well as the intelligence services and to put pressure on internet giants to better monitor extremism online.
To improve Europe's security, he wants the EU to deploy some 5,000 European border guards to the external borders of the bloc's passport-free travel zone.
Macron did not campaign alone: His wife was never far away. Brigitte Macron, 24 years his senior, is his closest adviser, supporting him and helping prepare his speeches.
Macron and his wife have publicly described how their unusual romance started — when he was a student at the high school where she was teaching in Amiens in northern France. A married mother of three at the time, she was supervising the drama club. Macron, a literature lover, was a member.
Macron moved to Paris for his last year of high school.
She eventually moved to the French capital to join him and divorced. They married in 2007. Emmanuel Macron says he wants to formalize the job of first lady, adding "she has her word to say in this."
Following his victory speech in the courtyard of the Louvre, his wife appeared on stage by his side, with tears in her eyes.
This story has been corrected to give the European anthem as "Ode to Joy."