39-year-old set to be France's next president
France's political landscape was turned upside down on Sunday in the most influential elections Europe has seen in decades.
For the first time since 1958, France's two main parties were eliminated the first round of the presidential elections.
39-year-old centrist Emmanuel Macron will now face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off in two weeks for the country's top position after the candidates from both the ruling Socialist Party and the Republican Party were knocked out.
The results of the final elections will be massively important for Europe as Macron is pro-European Union while Le Pen wants to pull out of the Euro currency and has promised to call a referendum on EU membership.
Current socialist president François Hollande is so unpopular that he didn't even stand for reelection.
Figures released by the Interior Ministry gave Macron on 23.75% of votes and with Le Pen on 21.53%, followed by conservative Francois Fillon at 19.91 % and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon on 19.64%.
A former Finance Minister, Macron does not have a political party, but instead leads the "En Marche" movement, which he founded only a year ago.
“In a year, we have changed the face of French politics,” said Macron to his supporters after taking to the stage hand in hand with his wife, Brigitte, who is 20-years his senior.
“You have succeeded in convincing people that hope for our country is not a dream..."
The former banker also paid tribute to the other candidates, naming them and thanking them for their messages of support after a campaign “marked by terrorism”.
Polls suggest Macron should easily beat Le Pen in the runoff, especially after Fillon called on his supporters to vote for the new kid on the political block.
Survey suggest Macron could win the runoff by 64% to 36.
Le Pen is up for the fight though saying "Either we continue on the path of total de-regulation, offshoring, mass immigration, free movement of terrorists, the reign of big money. Or you choose the France of borders that protect your identity."
In a sign of the times, the Socialist Party's official candidate, Benoît Hamon, came in a paltry sixth with only 6.2% of the vote, meaning the two major French parties manager to garner less than 27% of the vote.
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