London [England], Apr. 24 (ANI): With Emmanuel Macron topping the first round of the French presidential election, projections show that he is set to face Front National's Marine Le Pen in a race that has knocked France's traditional political parties out of the running.
Macron, 39, who is seen as a political novice and is also the youngest ever French presidential hopeful, has become the favourite to be elected as France's next president.
The historic first-round result clearly showed the strong rejection of the ruling political class, as it was the first time since the Second World War that the traditional left and right ruling parties were both ejected from the race in the first round, reports the Guardian.
France's two political outsiders - the progressive, pro-business and socially liberal Macron and the anti-immigration, anti-EU, far-right Le Pen - will now face off in a final round on 7th May.
Macron, who had been a chief adviser and then economy minister to the Socialist François Hollande, does not hail from any political party.
He quit the government last year and launched his own political movement, En Marche! (on the move), without left of right leanings and promised to "revolutionise" what he called France's decaying political system.
"In one year we have changed the face of French political life." He said he represented "optimism and hope," Macron said in front of an ecstatic and raucous crowd in Paris, adding a dig at Le Pen by saying he would be a president of "patriots" against the "nationalist threat".
However, it was also a success for Le Pen, who has spent years attempting to rid the Front National of the toxic legacy of her father. "It is time to free French people from arrogant elites ... I am the people's candidate," she announced.
The first round of the French polls was held under tight security in the wake of the terror attack in Paris on Thursday night, which disrupted the final day of campaigning on Friday. (ANI)