Emmanuel Macron is a 39-year-old former banker and political newcomer who has run for president without the backing of an established party. Instead, he founded the social liberal movement En Marche last April and has put forward the case for a different type of political party, which is more progressive and draws on elements of both the right and left wing rather than rigidly sticking to a particular part of the spectrum.
Marine Le Pen has propelled the popularity of her far-right National Front Party since taking over as leader from her father in 2011. Nicknamed ‘Madame Frexit’, Le Pen, 48, has stated her desire for France to give up the single currency and plans to offer a vote on leaving the European Union. She wants to slash immigration, close ‘extremist’ mosques and give French nationals priority when it comes to social housing.
Emmanuel Macron won 23.8% of votes in the first round of the election, just ahead of Marine Le Pen at 21.4%, as the five or six main candidates split the nation. There is no suggestion that from bookies that the second round will be as close now that the other contenders have been knocked out, with Macron the firm favourite to come through and be named president.
The longer odds for Le Pen may appear tempting for some punters, particularly in the wake of other surprising political results over the past couple of years, but in spite of all the turbulence in France it is hard to imagine her getting enough votes to take her over the line. The defeated candidates have urged their supporters to get behind Macron and it is highly likely that the country will vote for a man whose charisma, ambition and centrist views have catapulted him from obscurity to the brink of power in the blink of an eye.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Emmanuel Macron to be French president
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.