French scientists say they’re relieved and happy that their country’s next president will be Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former civil servant and economy minister who swept to victory in elections on 7 May. Macron intends to make cuts to public spending but has said he will ring-fence the budgets for research and higher education, areas that he wants to make the central plank of a program to boost innovation and cut unemployment. He has also pledged to invest in environmental and clean-energy measures. But his ability to implement these policies will depend heavily on the results of legislative elections in June. If he doesn’t have enough support in France’s parliament, the new president will find it hard to propose and pass new laws. French research bodies rarely take overt positions on elections, but this one was different. France’s academy of science, the heads of nine national research agencies and many prominent scientists had all made public appeals against Le Pen’s party ahead of Sunday’s head-to-head vote, arguing that the Front National’s illiberal and anti-immigrant views threatened the tolerant, open and democratic environment in which science and evidence-based policy thrives.
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