French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at his campaign headquarters in Paris on May 7, 2017, after the second round of the French presidential election. / AFP / POOL / Lionel BONAVENTURE
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It has taken only three years for Emmanuel Macron to rise from being an unknown government adviser to be elected France's youngest head of state since Napoleon.Many attribute Macron's stunning rise to a deep yearning for a fresh face, coupled with a rare message of optimism in a country that has long been obsessed with national decline.The unexpected collapse of many mainstream opponents certainly played a part, but Macron had the tactical nous to seize his chance.Despite having attended France's most prestigious schools, making a killing by brokering a $10 billion corporate acquisition, and serving in a Socialist government under President Francois Hollande, Macron has vowed to shake up the system that he comes from.In government, Macron set about attacking some of the sacred cows of the French "social model" such as the 35-hour working week, iron-clad job protection, and the civil service's culture of jobs-for-life.Macron, who sleeps little and can often be seen online on the Telegram messaging service at 2 a.m., says his ambition is to bridge the left-right divide that has long dominated French politics.
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