Acquiring a close 23.5 and 22.3 vote percentages, respectively, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are set for the final round of the French presidential election on May 7.

Macron, a former investment banker, switched from traditional parties a year ago to form his own movement with an eclectic blend of left and right views. He campaigned on a pro-European Union platform, coupled with calls to overhaul the rules governing the French economy.

 

 

“The French people have decided to put me ahead of the first round of the vote,” Macron told jubilant supporters at a rally in Paris. “I’m aware of the honor and the responsibility that rest on my shoulders.”

Le Pen, on the other hand, focuses more on “France first” policies to restrict signs of Muslim faith in public, like the wearing of headscarves or hijab. Not only will she be in the runoff for the first time, but she also got a higher percentage of votes than she did in 2012, and a higher percentage than her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, did in 2002, when he made it to the second round as the candidate for the far-right National Front.

“The great debate will finally take place,” Le Pen tweeted. “French citizens need to seize this historic opportunity.”

One of the four strong candidates, the far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, refused to accept early projections that indicated his defeat. Meanwhile, mainstream right candidate, François Fillon, conceded, saying that he had failed to “convince” the French.

“The obstacles put on my path were too numerous, too cruel,” Fillon said, referring to scandals surrounding his campaign.