The French election is shaping up to be an unpredictable race, with Emmanuel Macron edging ahead of the far-Right leader Marine Le Pen in polling for the first round of voting.
Centrist Macron, the former protege of Francois Hollande, is now the bookies' favourite to become French President, with the average of the latest polls showing him leading Le Pen by 0.2 points.
The election will be staged in April and May 2017, taking place across two rounds.
Follow how the race is shaping up with the Telegraph's poll tracker, which takes an average of the last eight national polls for the first round of the presidency.
How the French election works
A word of caution: just because a candidate seems to be ahead in the polls for the first round, it doesn't mean that they're going to win.
Already the race has taken several surprising turns. Francois Fillon used to be the frontrunner, and is now under pressure to drop out after becoming caught up in a scandal over employing his wife as an assistant.
Candidates are pitted against each other twice in the election, with the first round of the vote taking place on April 23.
If no candidate gains half the vote, the top two candidates will then face off in a second run-off on May 7. This is a near-certainty, as the sheer number of candidates on the ballot restricts the chance of a majority in the first round.
Of the nine elections since the first direct presidential election in the Fifth Republic in 1965, three have seen the winner of the first round lose out in the second. This led to the elections of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1974, François Mitterrand in 1981 and Jacques Chirac in 1995.
What are the betting odds for the French presidential race?
For those who have lost faith in political polling, there is another way of predicting electoral outcomes: ask people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.
After Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the 2015 General Election, many now believe that political betting markets can better predict elections, relying on the wisdom of a crowd of punters to sort and weigh all the probabilities.
According to Coral, Macron is the favourite to win the election at this early stage. While Le Pen is currently ahead in the polls for the first round, it is expected that Macron or Fillon would be the likely winner if they were to face her in the second round.
Polls putting a hypothetical second round choice of Macron or Fillon to voters indicate that Macron would be victorious.
The odds for the current four frontrunners for French President are:
- Emmanual Macron, Independent: 4/9
- Marine Le Pen, Front National: 11/4
- François Fillon, Les Republicains: 7/1
- Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Unsubmissive France: 100/1
- Benoît Hamon, Socialists: 100/1
What happened in the 2012 French presidential election?
François Hollande became French President after beating Nicolas Sarkozy, claiming 51.6 per cent in the second vote of voting.
10.3m people voted for the Socialist Party's Hollande in the first round of voting - claiming 63 of France's 106 departments - while 18m sided with him in the second round.
Sarkozy, the incumbent president and representing the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) party, secured 16.9m votes in the second round of voting.
Marine Le Pen, the National Front's candidate, secured 17.9 per cent of the vote, placing her in third place.
A word of caution
It's still early days in this volatile race. The former front-runner has so far survived calls to drop out and has haemorraged support in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Macron - the founder of a new party - has emerged as the new frontrunner.
The race can change again dramatically once the candidates are whittled down to a final two in the second round. And after the shock of Brexit and Trump in 2016, it's probably too early to be placing any bets.
Our poll tracker takes in national polls from OpinionWay, Ifop-Fiducial, Elabe, Harris and BVA Interactive. Their individual polls, while of different sample sizes, take in a representative sample. Their individual margin of errors vary from +/-0.8 per cent to +/-3.3 per cent.
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- Marine Le Pen
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