Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to go head to head in the French presidential runoff on May the seventh.
Preliminary results show Macron, winning around 23 percent in the first round, with Le Pen just behind at around 22 percent.
With 46 million votes tallied so far – out of a total 47 million – figures from the interior ministry put Macron, a pro-European former economy minister, winning 23.82 percent in the first round and Le Pen 21.58 percent. Conservative Francois Fillon followed with 19.96 percent, and far-left maverick Jean-Luc Melenchon 19.49 percent.
Never before had Le Pen’s National Front party reaped so many votes – around 6.9 million. However, opinion polls show the 39 year old Macron, who is running as an independent, easily beating her in the runoff.
Sunday’s outcome is a huge defeat for the Socialist and centre-right parties that had dominated French politics for 60 years.