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Emmanuel Macron Wins French Presidential Election; North Korea Claims to Detain another U.S. Citizen; Yates to Testify Monday; 82 Chibok Girls Released in Nigeria; Macron Vows to Unite France as New President Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 8, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:10] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: France has a newly-elected president after Emmanuel Macron delivers a big defeat to Marine Le Pen. We'll take you live to Paris for the latest.

North Korea says it has detained another U.S. citizen. What we know about Kim Hak-Song.

Plus, former U.S. acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify in just a few hours on her warnings to the White House about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

It is all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

And we begin with France. The new president-elect Emmanuel Macron is celebrating his resounding political victory with a promise to unite his country. The Interior ministry says the centrist independent defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen with 66 percent of the votes.

This is what his supporters were ding just outside the Louvre -- supporters dancing and waving French flags as they waited for Macron to give his victory speech. The President was solemn as he speaking of divisions in the country that he must now try to heal.

Let's go to our Cyril Vanier who is in Paris. He's been there covering this. And it's finally time that France knows which direction they're heading -- Cyril, but a big job ahead for this 39- year-old president-elect.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Natalie -- good to be with you. It is 6:00 a.m. local time here in Paris. And French voters made history with Sunday's election.

Both of the Presidential runoff candidates portrayed themselves as political outsiders during the campaign, people who wanted to overhaul politics in France. But in the end, voters rejected Marine Le Pen's far right message in favor of Emmanuel Macron.

Le Pen acknowledged their decision in her concession speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): The French have chosen a new president. I have called Mr. Macron to congratulate him on his election. And I wished him success in this very senior post that he is going to occupy and also very great challenges in front of him.


VANIER: And European leaders are breathing a sigh of relief after watching the rise of populism that led to both Brexit and put Donald Trump in the White House. In his victory speech, Emmanuel Macron, France's youngest president-elect ever laid out the challenges for his presidency.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): What we have done for months and months now has no precedent nor equivalence. Everybody told us it was impossible. But they didn't know France.

The task before us, dear citizens, is huge. And it will begin as from tomorrow. We will have to make public life more moral. We have to defend the vitality of our democracy. We have to strengthen our economy. We have to build new forms of protection for this world which surrounds us. And to make sure that everybody has a place through schooling, through culture, to re-found Europe, and to ensure the security of all French people.


VANIER: Let's get you the mood in this country at this critical juncture in the history of France really, in the contemporary history of France. Our Paris correspondent Melissa Bell has been following the whole campaign speaking to the voters on both sides really of this election -- the Le Pen voters, the Macron voters. For weeks and months, Melissa -- now, you are in the streets of Paris, and we know the result. What you hearing? What are you sensing? What are you feeling?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, as you saw in those extraordinary images from the Louvre last night, a great deal of enthusiasm about the fact that Emmanuel Macron has achieved what so many has said was completely impossible. That he also appears to have put a stop here in France to that populist wave with an alternative idea of what change can be.

But of course, the trouble is, this morning as we wake up on this bank holiday and for now, the streets are barely empty, Cyril, because people get to lie-in today. They don't back to work until tomorrow.

But there is also I think a sense here in France that the hardest is now to do. There is this sort of political gamble that was taken by Emmanuel Macron.

[00:05:00] The gamble also of many people who decided to back him even though he doesn't for now really have any clear visibility on how he is going to govern.

The legislative elections, the parliamentary elections don't happen until June. For the time being he doesn't have a single MP to his name. There is a fractured political scene where the mainstream right and the mainstream left have been pushed aside that are now in disarray and will try and push back against Emmanuel Macron as we head into those parliamentary election.

And of course, we have those 34 percent of people, according to those partial results who have voted for Marine Le Pen. Now, Emmanuel Macron reached out to them specifically last night. Have a listen.


MACRON: And I also want to say a word for those who voted today for Madam Le Pen. No, don't boo. They expressed -- they expressed today anger, dismay, and sometimes convictions. I respect them. But I will do everything during the five years to come to make sure that there is no reason at all to vote for extremes.


BELL: So that is a reminder of the pressure that is now on his shoulders. He really cannot afford to fail given the anger that has expressed itself in the shape of that far right vote. And of course, he has benefitted from the redrawing of the political lines in so far as the old right and left that had dominated politics for the last few decades were pushed aside allowing his exceptional and very unusual kind of candidature. But that redrawing of the lines also means that he is now facing a substantial new force in French politics which appears to be the National Front which claims now to be France's main opposition.

VANIER: Melissa, I want to share with you something that I sensed last night. I was with the CNN team at a Paris cafe in the city's center trying to get the mood from voters, you know, as the votes were coming in. And overwhelmingly the voters were in favor of Emmanuel Macron, but that doesn't mean there was really deep enthusiasm for him. There was a sort of a shrugging of the shoulders and crossing of the fingers that he would not let them down.

BELL: I think that is probably right -- Cyril. It's something we have sensed an awful lot. Just as Emmanuel Macron's the candidature from the outside from the rest of Europe in particular seemed like something of a no-brainer, here in France, he actually has had trouble gathering real enthusiasm around him, and many people did go out to vote for him in the end with a heavy heart.

Now, that's partly because the French are quite ideological because those who voted either socialist or republican all their lives French suddenly felt a little lost in this new political landscape.

It is also because the kind of new economic liberalism that he represents does worry a lot of French people. There's forces of anti- globalization which are now represented by the far right in French politics are also represented by far left. And don't forget that Jean-Luc Melenchon pulled 19 percent in the first round of voting. Many of his voters simply didn't go out and vote yesterday. So you do have this substantial proportion of the French population that is either outright against the idea of everything that Emmanuel Macron represents. Others who are frankly lukewarm and will want to make him pay for that and what he has done to their parties in the parliamentary elections. And then, of course, those who really were enthusiastic about his candidature -- I mean in a sense he has a huge proportion of the French population to convince even as he faces this huge challenges over the coming months -- Cyril.

VANIER: All right. Melissa Bell -- our CNN Paris correspondent. Thank you very much. We'll be crossing to you throughout the morning. Thanks a lot.

And let me turn now to our guest this morning -- Dominic Thomas. He is chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA.

Dominic -- I remember just before the vote, you were telling us really there's Emmanuel Macron, there's Marine Le Pen and you could consider that there is a third party going into this vote which is the people who are not going the vote or the people who are going to vote blank.


VANIER: And it turned out you were more than right. What is abstention rate -- 25 percent?


VANIER: It is huge.

THOMAS: It's highest rate since 1969. So of course, it is an issue. But I think really at the end of the day, what this points to is something that we have seen all along. That this was a deeply- fractured election, that many people did not identify with mainstream political parties and were a little directionless. They were rudderless as they went into this vote.

But as I said, at the end of the day, he won. And numbers do matter and he didn't just win by a few percentage points. I don't think it's possible to say that the vote for Macron was just a protest vote against the Front National. I think he demonstrated last night that he has enough votes and momentum to propel him into the legislative parliamentary elections and to give him the mandate that he needs going into those things and as he starts to build his cabinet and so on. So I think it was an important result for him.

[00:10:07] VANIER: You don't think it's going to be a problem for him that so many people stayed away from the polls or actually actively went to the polls and put in a blank ballot?

And again for our viewers that means those are people who want to do their civic duty, but want to show that they don't agree with either of the two candidates that they could be voting for. THOMAS: Right. Yes, it is a protest, and obviously in the first

round, you have almost 20 percent voting for Jean-Luc Melenchon, almost you know, over 20 percents for Le Pen and 20 percent that, you know, that didn't bother voting. So of courser, there are a lot of people out there who are not satisfied with the way the system, one can say, is operating.

But he has been elected. There has been a transition to a new power here and the hope is that he is able to harness this energy and to move ahead and do something here.

So -- and obviously, it is not going to be easy. It is a divided fractured country. And for a young president coming in, I think the next few weeks are going to be very telling, who he pick, and how he goes about doing this.

VANIER: It is absolutely remarkable that he even got to this stage. He is now the President of France.

THOMAS: Right.

VANIER: He is 39. Interesting factoid: he is the youngest president since Napoleon Bonaparte in 19th century.

THOMAS: It's amazing, yes. But I mean so many of the -- I mean at end of the day, what was, I thought, was so, you know, remarkable there had been so much talk about the way in which the Trump election was going to impact this and the Brexit vote, you know, in supporting Marine Le Pen.

But with all of those factors and the terror attacks and the divided political parties, of course, she did well. Of course, the numbers have grown remarkably that when he walked into the esplanade of the Louvre last night to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" I can tell you Donald Tusk, the E.U. president, council president, went to bed with a big smile on his face, you know.

VANIER: And you know, what -- let me interrupt you there -- because we have that moment. It was a remarkable moment. Let's listen --

THOMAS: It is really quite something.

VANIER: So he certainly knows how to make an entrance, the Ninth --


VANIER: -- Symphony of Beethoven playing there which, of course, isn't just good musing, it is the official hymn of the European Union.

THOMAS: It's amazing. And just before, you know, the runoff stages, Marine Le Pen, one of her final interview, you know, insisted that only the French flag appear in the background. Not only that but it was obvious in the runoff to this final vote that she started to back down on some of her anti-E.U. position. And of course, the French people were defied (ph) on this, you know. Of course, we'll have to think about the question of the Euro because I think at the end of the day the French people are not against the European Union. They obviously have issues with it and the question of globalization and neo-liberalism, of people being left behind. But I think that overwhelmingly, France as one of the founding nations of the European Union, understands and celebrates its 60th birthday, that peace and prosperity have been important to that history. And that and working and reforming the European Union is important, but leaving it is not. And they watched and looked across the channel and they're not interested in going through that kind of process. That's for sure.

VANIER: Dominic Thomas, breaking down what the victory of Emmanuel Macron means for France and for Europe. We will get into that later. Thank you so much -- so good to have you on the show.

We're going to toss it back to Natalie Allen now in Atlanta. Natalie -- we will continue to have guests for you throughout the morning as the sun rises here in Paris.

ALLEN: Very interesting -- Cyril. Who knew Napoleon would work his way into being talked about in this interesting --

VANIER: He was 40.

ALLEN: -- interesting election. Thank you so much.

Ahead here, we have other news from around the world. North Korea says it has done it again. We will tell you what we know about the latest U.S. citizen it claims it has in custody. We'll go live to Seoul for that.

Plus, more is coming out about Michael Flynn -- a former top U.S. Justice Department official is set to testify before Congress in just a few hours about her warning to the White House about Michael Flynn.

Stay with us. CNN NEWSROOM will continue.


ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

North Korea says it has detained yet another U.S. citizen. The state media reports that Kim Hak-Song is accused of hostile acts against the regime.

For more on this and South Korea's upcoming election our Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul. And Paula -- what do we know about this American, another American, they are holding?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie -- we do know from the state-run media that he was detained on Saturday. He also has a Chinese name in the English version of the article Jin Xue-Song. We understand that he was working at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. We have contacted a couple of people who say they were friends with this individual. They say that he had -- he was a Korean, an ethnic Korean who was born in China and then settled in the United States which is why he is an American citizen.

They also say that he was studying agriculture and had wanted to travel to North Korea and have done for the past couple of years to try and pass on agricultural technology information at the university saying that he was working within the university in the past few weeks within agriculture as well; his friends saying that he did have a love for North Korea.

For the regime itself, through KCNA, the state-run media, they have not specified exactly what the allegations or accusations against him are. Just saying he committed hostile acts against the regime.

This is a standard charge we hear when it comes to Americans being arrested in North Korea. Of course, North Korea, one of the main things that we will be looking at when it comes to the South Korean election in the Rodong Sinmun, the state run newspaper. they have actually mentioned that they would be looking for an end to confrontation with this new election. This was a personal opinion piece within the paper which, of course, is state sanctioned.

[00:19:56] But for many within South Korea, North Korea is not the only thing they're looking at when it comes to the election. They're looking at the economy, welfare and many other things as well -- corruption being one of them. And there is a very clear frontrunner at this point.


HANCOCKS: Pure excitement at seeing the presidential frontrunner. Moon Jae-In has dedicated supporters old and young; and he is enjoying a significant lead in the polls.

His policy on North Korea though has voters split. A liberal candidate, Moon is pro-engagement. He supports dialogue with Pyongyang, even organizing the last North-South summit in 2007.

A group of North Korean defectors last week claimed 3,000 of them would leave South Korea and seek asylum elsewhere if Moon wins. Defectors traditionally vote conservative for a more hard-line approach to the regime they fled.

But also some rare defector support for Moon. The feeling here is that he is the only one who can prevent a future war on the peninsula.

"Our parents, brothers and sisters are all in North Korea", says this former member of the elite. The second we carry a rifle to defend South Korea, we will be pointing a gun towards them.

Moon declined repeated requests for a television address but tried to fight criticism he is too soft on North Korea in a televised address.

"I will not tolerate any military provocation from North Korea," he says. "Through the crisis management and solid alliance with the U.S., I will stop the war from happening."

Moon lost in the last presidential race to former president Park Geun- Hye. Park has been impeached and imprisoned, currently on trial for extortion and bribery. She denies all charges against her.

But Moon is assumed to have picked up support for being the opposite of her in policy and personality.

MICHAEL BREEN, AUTHOR: He stood very clearly against her. So, one big reason to his support is that he is not her.

HANCOCKS: Former businessman, An Cheol-Soo also supports negotiations with Pyongyang, even highlighting the fact he went to the same business school as U.S. President Donald Trump as a way of connecting with the country's main ally.

Hong Jun-Pyo, the conservative candidate from Park's former party suffered a political body blow from her impeachment, and holds a harder line against Pyongyang. 13 candidates in all vying for the top job, and the result is expected overnight Tuesday.


HANCOCKS: So unless these polls have been horribly wrong and to be fair, that has happened in the past elsewhere in the world, it does look as though Moon Jae-In is set to be the next president, the next person to have to try and solve the North Korean issue, and also to have to forge a friendship and a relationship with the U.S. President who has said he is willing to go it alone on the issue -- Natalie.

ALLEN: South Korea about to move forward finally after some time without a leader. Thank you -- Paula.

Well, within hours we may learn more about President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Former U.S. acting attorney general Sally Yates is set to testify before a Senate panel Monday. She's expected to say what she told the White House about Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

For more on this, here's CNN's Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Former acting attorney Sally Yates is prepared to testify in front of a senate committee on Monday. And sources tell CNN that she is prepared to set the record straight about her role and events that eventually led national security adviser Michael Flynn to leave his post.

At the core of her testimony will be a meeting that she had with White House Counsel Don McGahn 18 days before after Flynn was removed as national security adviser. In that meeting, Yates is prepared to testify that she gave a forceful warning to the White House about Flynn's contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

At that point, Flynn had denied that he talked to Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Russia, a denial which was not true and also led Vice President Mike Pence to publicly defend Flynn.

After Flynn left office, the White House admitted that Yates had warned them about Flynn's interaction with the Russian official, but they described the interaction as is more of a head's up, essentially bringing to their attention that Flynn may have not been honest the Vice President.

Yates, however, remembers the conversation differently and is expected to testify that she expressed serious concerns and made it clear that Flynn should be fired.

The former acting attorney general was also forced out of her post by the Trump administration after she refused to defend the White House's controversial travel ban. Her testimony while potentially explosive would be tempered a bit because she probably will not be able to recount specifics of certain events because of concerns over revealing classified information in an open setting.

Ryan Nobles, CNN -- Washington.


[00:24:59] ALLEN: Nigeria is celebrating the homecoming of dozens of the missing Chibok school girls. 82 met with President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday after being released through a negotiated exchange with the terrorist group Boko Haram. They are believed to be among the 276 school girls kidnapped from their school in 2014 which launched the international social media campaign #bringbackourgirls.

CNN spoke with one of the negotiators behind the girls' release.


SHEHU SANI, CHIBOK NEGOTIATION ARCHITECT: There is no price that is too high to pay to get these girls out of captivity. Just with the release of these girls -- a dark cloud of moral guilt that hangs over the sky of our country is now getting cleared. A dark chapter in our history is coming to an end.


ALLEN: The Nigerian government says negotiations with Boko Haram will continue. More than 100 girls are still believed to be held.

A powerful and potentially damaging cyclone is turning up in the South Pacific threatening a number of islands. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more about it. Hello -- Pedram.

PEDRAKM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Natalie -- what a menacing storm this is. Just on satellite imagery, you see the symmetry, you see the organization and you see that wind speed of 215 kilometers per hour. This is the single strongest storm we've ever seen in the month of May across the southern hemisphere.

Donna sits there equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. It is a menacing one but it's just west of Vanuatu, population across Port Vila there pushing about 4,500 people but the storm should miss that island.

But the concern here -- New Caledonia, French territory, population there over 300,000 people and the storm system looks to scourge Noumea which is the southern city, the capital city there. That city itself has well over 100,000 people.

And the storm looks at least to weaken as it approaches, but tremendous rainfall associated with this and it's certainly going to see a lot of large waves as well. About 27 feet high at the max, significant wave heights associated with the storm system. So we're talking about 2.5 story height waves out of the open ocean waters there.

And notice the area indicated in white, right there -- that is 500 millimeters of rainfall. Those are the Loyalty Islands -- population across this region sits at around 10,000 and we think that area could see half a meter of rainfall in the next couple of days as the storm system moves to the south and certainly a worth following.

And another story that's been developing across parts of China is around Guangzhou. Look at the rainfall amount there, 100 to almost 200 millimeters have come down.

I want to share with you some video out of this region because incredible footage coming out of areas of southern China, over nine fatalities -- at least nine fatalities across this region that we know of. Subways flooded, roadways have flooded as well from persistent rainfall.

This is the time of the year you see a lot of rains across parts of China. So certainly this is what you would expect, and climatologically Hong Kong not too far away. You notice a peak in the month of May right there, one of the wettest times. A little bit of a drop as you approach the summer months and then increases again.

But we expect more wet weather here. We think we'll get a little bit of a break towards the middle portion of the week. But again, this is the time of year, if you are in southern China, you know very well that heavy rainfall is what you expect and it's been exceptional in the last couple of days -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And Pedram, back to the cyclone for a second, did you say the biggest ever-recorded for this region?

JAVAHERI: Biggest ever in the southern hemisphere in this time of the year -- absolutely, yes.

ALLEN: My goodness. All right. Thank you -- Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thanks -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, after an unpredictable campaign, France celebrates the presidential election. We will have more, live from Paris coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.

We'll see you in a minute. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:32:00] ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers. We appreciate you're watching CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories again for you.

North Korea apparently has detained another U.S. citizen. That is him there in the white shirt. His name is Kim Hak-song. A state media report he is suspected of what they call hostile acts against the regime of Pyongyang University. They said he taught there for several weeks.

82 of Nigeria's missing Chibok schoolgirls met with the president of Nigeria, Sunday, after being released through negotiations with the terrorist group Boko Haram. They are believed to be from the group of 276 kidnapped from their school in 2014. More than 100 girls are still believed to be held by those terrorist.

We may learn more about the activities of former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn this week. Former U.S. acting Attorney General Sally will testify before a Senate panel, Monday. She is expected to say she warned the White House about Flynn's talk with Russia's ambassador and that he could be compromised if Moscow threatened to reveal the substance of conversations.

Back now to our top story.

Emmanuel Macron easily defeating the far right Marine Le Pen to become the next French president. Voters rejected Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-European Union message in favor of this somewhat unknown independent centrist.

Macron acknowledged the divisions in France and pledged to do all he could to unite the country.

Le Pen won about 34 percent of the vote. That's a record for the National Front, though.

Let's go back now to Cyril Vanier, our man in Paris. He's been covering this election. And even though there's a lot now unknown, at least, Cyril, the voters have spoken and this tough election season is behind them.

VANIER: Yes, absolutely, Natalie. And the world had been watching this election. So let's try and find out what this actually means for the world politics, and how it fits into that narrative. And I've got the best people here to do that with me.

Douglas Herbert is with me. France 24. He's national affairs commentator.

Thank you for being with us.

Jean Lesieur, French journalist and author.

Doug, you have been watching the rise of populism which seemed to blitz through the western world -- Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump and now France was going to be the next big test. What do you make of this?

DOUGLAS HERBERT, NATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR, FRANCE 24: Well, first of all, you know, not so fast is what basically France is saying to the world. You know, I think we got into this habit of connecting the dots here a bit too easily. It was easy to do, right? It seems logical. You go from Brexit. You go to Trump. Even everyone in the U.S. was thinking, oh, is Marine Le Pen next as well.

You know, it's funny. I was miserably wrong about Brexit. I was even more miserably wrong about Donald Trump. And yet I had a sort of higher level of confidence that France somehow would resist what you would say whatever this anti-establishment insurgency. This populous wave of populism. And the main reason I had more confidence perhaps in France is because we say all politics is local, right?

There is a particularity of the French system itself. It has in a sense an insurance policy, when it goes to vote for a president. Unlike the U.S., it has this two-stage voting system.

What you are essentially doing is it's like applying the emergency break. So if you have a demagogic candidate, a populist candidate who comes through in the first round of the election as we saw back in 2002 with Jean-Marie Le Pen, now his daughter in 2017.

[00:35:30] All of a sudden, there's a sort of two-week pause. People can debate. They can get their act together. You can sort of, you know, step back and do a re-think if you will.

But, also, and I can't understate the importance of the fact that France also has a popular vote in its presidential election. We know about the U.S. Electoral College. We know about the fierce debate over that, and whether or not it's inherently fair or unfair system.

France, you need 50 percent of the vote plus one at the end of the day to win the presidency. You can't get around that. You need the numbers and in Marine Le Pen's case, she came out of the first round with 7.6 million votes. She would have needed really over 10 million more votes to capture the presidency. It's a lot of votes to get even given the fact that no one is denying she made quite a few inroads in the second round.

And given the landscape, she did pretty well nonetheless, but that popular vote, that two rounds of voting, there is a lot of time for France, the French collectively to step back and think, they all have to say that perhaps the fracturing of the political landscape here, the fact you had 11 candidates battling it out, clashing for the presidency, that is well, perhaps played Emmanuel Macron's favor with the socialist disillusion towards left with the Republicans, the conservative party tarred by scandal and graft and corruption allegation on his right, he was in a prime position.

VANIER: John, your take on why France was not the next populist domino to fall. JEAN LESIEUR, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: Well, first, I think the populist surge throughout the world, I think was vastly overanalyzing, over exaggerated.

First, I think the vote for Brexit was a fluke in a way. You know, the campaign was very, very demagogical and people elected -- I mean, people chose to break from the rest of the European Union on the misunderstanding.

They didn't really understand the consequences and, now, you know, it's obvious that even in Britain, people are kind of regretting their vote for Brexit.

Second, Trump, I think has dug, you know, reminded the people who are watching this show, Trump was also elected through a system which is strangely enough not even discussed anymore in the United States. You know, I mean, Hillary got 3 million more --


VANIER: He lost the popular vote and won the Electoral Vote.

LESIEUR: Yes. So, now, as far as France is concerned, you know, I would be tempted to say maybe the French are a little bit smarter than all of this people. We have a long history -- we have a long history of victory and I am not saying that to be provocative, but at the same time, you know, the enlightenment in France, you know, came from France.

You know, the century, the Siecle des Lumieres. So the French have always have a tendency -- have always had a tendency to kind of look, you know, from up from -- to down. And there has been so much, so many failures from French traditional politicians that, you know, this earthquake which is an earthquake.

I mean, imagine that Macron was not known, you know, three years ago by anybody. Imagine that Marine Le Pen was in the second round. It's as if in the states you would have a presidential election without candidate from the Democratic Party or from the Republican Party.

So, you know, the French have also a tendency, you know, when I say we're smarter, it's a little bit of the joke, but still, we have a tendency to like political earthquakes. You know, we move forward through revolution, through shocks, through earthquakes, political earthquakes, and Macron is the latest shock that France is offering to the world.

VANIER: But perhaps the biggest earthquake would actually have been a victory to your point, a victory of the National Front?

LESIEUR: No, because the National Front and Marine Le Pen, you know, it is a symbol of old France, you know, through her father, who is, you know -- I mean, young people don't even know who he was, but they have -- they know that his reputation for being kind of Neo-Nazi or having participated in the Algerian war as somebody who was torturing the freedom fighters from Algeria, you know, she is linked to old France, whereas Macron is totally new.

And he is -- he is the guy who was able to kind of, you know, have this old system explode, and that's what's so attractive about him.

VANIER: So, Doug, what do you see in store for Emmanuel Macron. The new pro-market reformer. When we were speaking before the show, there is one word that came out of your mouth -- Tony Blair.

[00:40:00] HERBERT: Yes. You know, there was a little bit -- there was a moment last night before he actually went off to the Louvre and address his tens of thousands of supporters for that big victory celebration, he gave a speech at his own headquarters and he sort of looked like he was in isolation chamber a little bit. And he look like, he had his turn of a deer caught in the headlights. A slightly startled look.

VANIER: He occasionally does have that look.

HERBERT: He occasionally has that look. You know, he has been called arrogant. You know, he is a young upstart and all of that. He's definitely ambitious. There was almost a sense that it was just beginning to sink in exactly what he had pulled off. He's sort of, you know, this political miracle feat if you will, you know, coming from the total political nowhere, obscurity three years ago, forming his movement, not even a party just over a year ago --

VANIER: He's line in within -- in less than a year, we changed the face of French politics.

HERBERT: Exactly, in less than a year. And what struck me later on is he himself -- I don't know how. I lost count of how many times he said this. He said we have an immense task ahead of us. It almost tries to sort of reassure itself, lay the ground work for himself of what lies ahead.

Look, he is nothing if not very smart. I think he does genuinely know that he has his work cut out for him. And, you know, not least of which will be cobbling together that working majority in the parliament in the two-stage June elections there. It's going to be an enormous task, but then again, you know, so many people wrote off Emmanuel Macron in the past.

I remember when he, you know, little less than a year ago, he got in this boat and sailed down the Seine when he quit his job as the economics minister, sailed off to the French presidential palace to hand his resignation.

And a lot of people at the time sort of dismissed him. They said there he go, sailing off into oblivion by Emmanuel Macron. You know, he really is -- it is not even a comeback act. I mean, it's unbelievable in a sense when you think of it. What he actually pulled off.

So given that, I think for all of us to sit here now, and you know, and to sort of, you know, dismiss his chances of being able to get this parliamentary opposition, it seems like an enormous almost mission impossible type of task. But given what he's done, in such a concentrated span of time --

VANIER: You can't discount it.

HERBERT: I'm not going to sit here and count it out, Jean. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt until I see otherwise.

LESIEUR: Was he -- you know, this kind of a stiff look he had in his first speech last night should not again be overanalyze and overestimated. I mean, remember his eyes during the debate with Marine Le Pen. This guy is a killer. And he is not a junior, just a junior kind of guy, you know, who has never done anything before and who is going to be lost in his new clothes. He has thought out every single step that he has been doing.


VANIER: He was also amazingly lucky. No amount of calculation and strategizing could have brought him to the presidency if he hadn't had some of the love that he had with the collapsed of the mainstream party.

LESIEUR: Yes, but it was -- he has, he has a very rational view of how tired and exhausted the two French political traditional parties are. And, you know, he -- I mean, he bet in a way, but it was a very successful bet that the socialist party is dead, that the Republican Party is on its way out. And in a way, it's a bet and we're going to see a legislative election.

If his bet is going to be totally successful, if he's going to have a majority in parliament, but, you know, it's amazing that this guy has been able to unite politicians from, you know, the former secretary- general of the communist party to (INAUDIBLE), who, you know, just a few months ago was considered like a crypto-fascist.

You know, Macron has made this miraculous -- you know, has taken this miraculous path to where he is now. Of course, he is going to be, you know, facing the extra left, but, you know, (INAUDIBLE), who were the darlings of the alt-left of the extreme left of Europe, they have endorsed him. That's quite a big symbol.

VANIER: Jean Lesieur, Dough Herbert, thank you so much for coming on the show. And we will be talking in the coming hours, Natalie, about this, the third round of the presidential election as it is called here, the parliamentary elections next month.

Back to you, Natalie.

ALLEN: So much to digest. It's nice that the country gets the day off on Monday. Thank you, Cyril, so much.

And thank you for watching. "World Sport" is coming up next. And we will be back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. See you soon.