With a massive sigh of relief from pro-Europeans within the EU, Emmanuel Macron, beat Marine Le Pen, the former leader of the French National Front, in the French presidency election on Sunday. The margin of the victory was greater than forecasters had predicted with Macron taking approximately 66% of the vote, however it will be noted that Le Pen did take nearly 11m votes, double the total that Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, took in the 2002 presidential run-off. Added to this is the fact that turnout was the lowest for over 40 years, 12m voters abstained and over 4m voters spoiled their ballot papers means that Macron may not get the easy ride the initial margin of victory suggests.
After victory was sealed Macron was quick to acknowledge that there was work to be done to try to reunite France. ‘I know the country is divided and this has led to people voting for extremes, I understand the anger, the anxiety, the doubt which many of you have expressed and it is my responsibility to hear that’ Macron said from his team's HQ, adding ‘A new page of our history has turned this evening, I want that page to be one of hope and refound trust, the renewal of our public life, will be at the base of what I do from the very first day of our Presidency’ He also rebuked his supporters who booed when he mentioned Le Pen’s name. ‘I also want to say a word for those who voted today for Madame Le Pen’ adding ‘No, don't boo -- 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 there is no reason at all to vote for extremes’.
Of course Macron was congratulated from leaders across the world with Donald Tusk, The president of the European Council, even going so far to thank the French on social media ‘French people for choosing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity over tyranny of fake news’ he twitted. Maybe if people like Tusk were a little more understanding of the views of others rather than just their own, the political elite would not have to hold its breath every time one of the countries within the EU has an election. Not being able to appreciate another's point of view is understandable, to dismiss it out of hand because it doesn't match yours unforgivable.
Also over the weekend Warren Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that their stock would probably be worth more in the event of his death. Answering an investor’s question on whether Berkshire Hathaway would buy its own stock if Buffett or vice chairman, Charles Munger (their combined age is 179!) were to move on and the stock was to fall Buffett said ‘if I die tonight, I think the stock would go up tomorrow’ adding ‘And there’d be speculation about breakups and all that sort of thing, so it would be a good Wall Street story’ He went on to say that he believed that the firm will be larger in 10 years than it's ever been. The next person to lead Hathaway is ‘going to have to allocate maybe $400bn or something like that, maybe more’ adding ‘Ten years from now Berkshire will be an aggregation of businesses where more money has been put in - in that decade - than everything that took place ahead of time’.