French President Emmanuel Macron adresses voters during a political meeting on April 16, 2022 in Marseille, France. After topping the first vote, Macron and rival candidate Marine Le Pen will face off in the second round of the French presidential elections to be held on April 24.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday vowed a new start to face immense challenges in foreign and domestic policy, as he was inaugurated for a second term after his election victory over the far right.
In a ceremony at the Elysee Palace, Macron was confirmed by Constitutional Council chief Laurent Fabius as the winner of April election and then signed the formal reinvestiture document.
Attended by 450 people, including his wife Brigitte and his only surviving predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, the ceremony was relatively modest but marked the first time a French leader is serving a second term in 20 years.
Macron faces a daunting agenda of implementing the reforms he vowed when he came to power as France's youngest-ever president in 2017, as well as dealing with the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
"Rarely has our world and our country been confronted with such a combination of challenges," he said, referring to the Ukraine crisis, the pandemic and the ecological emergency.
He vowed to be a "new president" for a "new mandate" and create a "stronger France."
"Every day of the mandate that lies ahead I will have just one compass point. And that is to serve."
He also suggested a more inclusive and understanding style of ruling after his first term saw critics complain the former investment banker had abrasive and arrogant methods.
He vowed a "new method" to govern, far from the "worn-out rites and choreography" of the past.
In a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, 21 cannon shots were fired from the Invalides military memorial complex to celebrate the inauguration.
With no drive down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees or long red carpet, the ceremony resembled the reinaugurations of Francois Mitterrand in 1988 and Jacques Chirac in 2002, the last French president to win a second term.
Macron's second term will only start officially when the first one expires at midnight on Friday.
He is set to keep playing a leading role in efforts to stop the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while he carries an immense burden of expectation as a leader on the European stage with Germany still finding its footing in the post-Angela Merkel era.
On the domestic front, Macron must deal with the crisis over the rising cost of living and also brace for possible protests when he finally tackles his cherished pension reform, raising France's retirement age.
He reaffirmed a vow for full employment in France and vowed to fight against inequality by reforming the health and school systems as well as against "daily insecurities and terrorism that is still there."
Attending the ceremony were the parents of teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded by an Islamist extremist in 2020. His mother was moved to tears when the president embraced them.