French election: Who is Emmanuel Macron and can he win?
The leader of the En Marche! political movement is now poised as France's next president
Until six months ago Emmanuel Macron was a little known entity in French politics. A former member of the Socialist cabinet, he established his own party, En Marche!, in 2016 to challenge the status quo. Following the first round of the French election, he is now a prime contender to be president as he goes head to head against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
What's his political background?
Macron, 39, was educated at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Strasbourg before working as an investment banker, during which a well-timed deal with Nestle and Pfizer made him a millionaire.After being a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009, he himself as an independent candidate and served as an economy minister under Francois Hollande from 2014. He resigned in August 2016 to establish En Marche! (On The Move).
What does he stand for?
Positioning himself as a "transpartisan" centrist, Macron says he hopes to fight against the aged definitions of left and right-wing politics to create a "third way" solution popularised by the likes of former UK prime minister Tony Blair. "I want to reconcile the two Frances that have been growing apart for too long," he said.Unlike the other frontrunners in the presidential elections, Macron is pro-EU and has expressed a desire to focus on building a stronger relationship with Germany.
What about outside of politics?
Macron met his wife Brigitte Trogneux, 24 years his senior, when she was his French teacher at school. They announced their status as a couple when he was 18 and married in 2007. The couple live with Trogneux's three children from her previous marriage. She retired from teaching in 2016 to help with Macron's presidential campaign.
Can he win?
Macron has won the first round of the presidential election, beating Le Pen who came in second place. Now Macron and Le Pen face a run-off election on 7 May which Macron is expected to triumph in. Polls suggest that voters on the left and the right will vote for him in order to block Le Pen from gaining power.