Macron and Le Pen reach French run-off

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le pen won French presidential election first round. Voting results show Macron was leading the field with 23.9%. National front leader Le Pen was close behind on 21.4%.

Set to go head to head for the French presidency: Centrist Emmanuel Macron clinching the top spot in early projections of round one of voting on Sunday evening and hot on his heels, far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Voting closed at 6pm local time after French citizens at home and abroad cast their ballots throughout the day. The race had been too close to call up to the last minute. But independent candidate Macron, a pro-European Union ex-banker and economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago, was projected to get 24 percent in round one by the pollster Harris and 23.7 percent by Elabe.

Harris gave both conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-left contender Jean-Luc Melenchon 20 percent each. That would mean their elimination from the race.

The second round run-off is in a fortnight's time -on Sunday May 7th. Whatever the outcome, it will mean a redrawing of France's political landscape. A country which for 60 years has been dominated by mainstream groupings from the centre-left and centre-right.

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