Pro-European Emmanuel Macron is set to face far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France's presidential run-off, results showed Monday, making him clear favourite to emerge as the country's youngest leader in its history.
Macron topped Sunday's first round with 23.9 percent of votes, slightly ahead of National Front (FN) leader Le Pen with 21.4 percent, according to near-final results from the interior ministry.
They will contest the run-off on May 7.
"For months and again today I've heard the doubts, the anger and the fears of the French people. Their desire for change too," 39-year-old Macron told thousands of cheering supporters in Paris.
He pledged to unite "patriots" behind his agenda to renew French politics and modernise the country against Le Pen and "the threat of nationalists".
An ex-investment banker whose marriage to his former school teacher has fascinated France, Macron said the results were a clear rejection of traditional parties.
Neither candidate from the mainstream Republicans and Socialists made it through to the second round for the first time in six decades, in a stunning shakeup of national politics.
Cameroonian veteran journalist and political analyst, Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai commented the elections his Facebook wall:
At 39, Emmanuel Macron is the youngest person to ever have a chance at the French presidency and has risen to the fore despite never having stood in any kind of election before.
He did not have the backing of a traditional political party, and was a complete political neophyte. He is married to his former High School Teacher, a woman 24 years older with 7 grand children.
He has styled himself as a progressive maverick and promised a “democratic revolution” against the moribund French political system that has criminalized French-speaking African countries and pauperized Francophone Africa.
He will likely defeat Far Right Nationalist candidate, Marine Le Pen. Can a 39 year old even aspire to be a Minister in Cameroon, let alone president?