Emmanuel Macron was inaugurated as France’s youngest ever president on Sunday, saying the country had chosen “hope” and promising to relaunch the flagging European Union.

Macron, a 39-year-old centrist, took the reins of power from Francois Hollande a week after he won a resounding victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a tumultuous election.

After a warm welcome from Hollande at the Elysee Palace, the two men held a closed-doors meeting during which Macron was handed the codes to launch France’s nuclear arsenal.

In a moment heavy with symbolism, 64-year-old Hollande ─ who launched Macron’s political career by appointing him first as advisor and then economy minister ─ was then driven away from the palace to applause from his staff and the new president.

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