PARIS—France’s outgoing President Francois Hollande and president-elect Emmanuel Macron on Monday led a ceremony in central Paris to mark the 72nd anniversary of the end of World World II in Europe, known as Victory in Europe Day.
Hollande kicked off the ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe by laying a wreath at the foot of General Charles de Gaulle’s status.
Under the escort of the Republican Guards, he came to greet audience along the Champs-Elysees avenue before meeting with his ministers at the Place de l’Etoile (Star Square).
Attending the ceremony side by side, Hollande and his former minister of economy and adviser inspected troops to the national anthem “The Marseillaise,” laid a wreath and rekindled the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of Arc de Triomphe.
They were joined in the commemoration by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, ministers, lawmakers, veterans from the right and left parties, and military dignitaries.
Neither of them gave a speech during the ceremony.
The outgoing president told French media after the ceremony that he wanted Macron to stand by his side in the ceremony as a symbol of “passing on the torch.”
“I wish him every success, and he knows that if he needs any information, advice, he will contact me. I will always be by his side,” said Hollande.
Macron, 39, was elected the country’s youngest ever leader in Sunday’s presidential runoff with 66.1 percent of votes, defeating his far-right rival Marine Le Pen, who garnered 33.9 percent, according to final figures published by the French Interior Ministry.
The official transfer of power between Hollande and Macron will be held on May 14 at the Elysee Palace.
The Victory in Europe Day is a commemoration holiday celebrated annually on May 8 to mark the Allied victory over Nazism in World War II in 1945.