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Macron takes power as president of France; pledges to overcome division in society

Centrist Emmanuel Macron took power as president of France on Sunday in a sumptuous inauguration ceremony in the Elysee Palace presidential residence in Paris following his May 7 election victory.

On arriving for the ceremony at the 18th century palace, Macron, 39, a former investment banker and economy minister, held a private meeting with outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande on state affairs which included the transfer of access to France's nuclear missile launch codes.

In his inaugural address, Macron pledged to work to overcome divisions in society which had been shown by the presidential election campaign and seek to build a strong France that was sure of itself in the world.

"The division and fractures in our society must be overcome," said the 39-year-old centrist who was elected on May 7 after beating the far right leader Marine Le Pen following a bitter campaign that was dominated by France's role in Europe and which blew apart the traditional party structure in France.

"The world and Europe need more than ever France, and a strong France, which speaks out loudly for freedom and solidarity," Macron declared.

He said under his administration the labour market would be made more flexible, business-friendly conditions would be created to help companies function and "innovation" would be at the heart of his action as president.

Macron becomes France's youngest post-war leader and the first to be born after 1958 when President Charles de Gaulle put in place the Fifth Republic.

He officially became president when Laurent Fabius, chairman of the constitutional council and a former prime minister, read out the results of the election in which Macron beat far right leader Marine Le Pen.

- CNBC contributed to this report

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