Emmanuel Macron is the new President of France, after he is projected to win the election with over 65% of the vote.
France’s presidential election comes to a end with a second round of voting May 7.
Polls suggest centrist Emmanuel Macron is the strong favourite to win. In the last polls ahead of the vote proper, Macron sits on more than 60%, versus less than 40% for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
For the first time, the second round of voting does not include France’s two major parties, the conservative Les Républicains (The Republicans) and the social democratic Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party).
Around 47 million French citizens are entitled to vote, and voting begins in French overseas territories on May 6.
Most polling stations in mainland France close at 7pm on May 7, although those in major cities remain open until 8pm.
First estimates of the result can be published from 8pm, early results are expected around 9pm, and by 10:30pm a clearer picture should emerge.
A centrist politician without the backing of any major political party, Macron formed the En Marche! (On The Move!) movement after three years in the socialist party.
Strongly pro-EU, the 39-year-old former government minister sees himself as an outsider, ‘of the left’ and progressive on social issues, but he backs liberal economic policies, pushing perceived business-friendly measures to boost the economy. He wants to cut corporation tax, increase defense and police spending, improve pay for teachers and unity in the country.
Former US president Barack Obama weighed in on the French election, endorsing Macron three days before the second round.
Macron filed a formal complaint following after Le Pen implied he had an offshore bank account in the Caribbean during a televised debate on Wednesday.
Formed by her father Jean-Marie, the FN has a controversial history of xenophobia, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. Le Pen has tried to move FN away from the far-right image of her father, even expelling him in 2015.
She wants France to withdraw from the European Union and NATO, and to slash immigration to 10,000 “entries” annually. She also decries globalization – preferring what she calls ‘economic nationalism’ – and has vowed to fight “radical Islam” by among other things closing “extremist” mosques. Le Pen promotes social policies that favour French people.
If she wins, she will become the first far-right President to be elected in the regional bloc’s history.