French election: Macron and Le Pen through to run-off
Centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron will go head-to-head with far-right leader Marine Le Pen
Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old independent centrist, will face the National Front's Marine Le Pen in the run-off for the French presidency, as the country turns away from its established political parties.
In the first round of voting, Macron received 23.9 per cent of the vote, ahead of Le Pen on 21.4 per cent, while embattled former Republican prime minister Francois Fillon received 19.9 per cent and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon finished on 19.6 per cent.
Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon, representing the party of the outgoing president Francois Hollande, received just 6.2 per cent of the vote.
The result is an "epochal political upheaval for France", says The Guardian, as "neither of the candidates of the established parties of left and right will be in the runoff".
Macron, a former banker, has never stood for election before and if he wins would become France's youngest-ever president.
Macron "is widely seen as favourite in the final round of voting", says the BBC, "and in a sign of the uphill struggle Ms Le Pen faces he soon won high-profile endorsements" .
In his concession speech, Fillon threw his support behind Macron.
"There is no other choice than to vote against the far right. I will vote for Emmanuel Macron," Fillon said.
Hamon has also backed Macron, as has Bernard Cazeneuve, France's Socialist Prime Minister.
Le Pen, meanwhile, called for "real change" while addressing supporters after the ballot.
"The French people now have a very simple choice: either we continue on the path to complete deregulation, or you choose France," she said.
The final vote takes place on 7 May.
Infographic by www.statista.com for TheWeek.co.uk.