CENTRIST EMMANUEL Macron has gone through to the second round of the French election, where he will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Mr Macron, a former banker, is seen as a political newcomer – and ran without the backing of an established party.
After topping Sunday’s vote, he is now favourite to win the run-off on May 7.
It is the first time in six decades that neither of France’s main left-wing or right-wing parties has had a candidate in the second round.
Mr Macron won 23.8% of votes in the first round, while Ms Le Pen took 21.5%. The turnout was high, at almost 79%.
The nearest challengers, centre-right François Fillon and hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, fell behind with just over 19% each.
At 39, Mr Macron could become the youngest president France has ever had – and the first president in the Fifth Republic who does not belong to a major party.
He secured 8.4 million votes – more than any other candidate – in the first round.
Mr Macron was current President Francois Hollande’s economy minister but quit to create his own party, En Marche, which pushes a liberal, pro-EU agenda. BBC