French election: Who are Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron and what happens next?

Centrist Emmanuel Macron will become France's youngest ever President after battling it out against Marine Le Pen.

The first round of the presidential vote saw fellow contenders Francois Fillon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon eliminated.

Mr Macron won the final round with 65% of the vote.

But who are Le Pen and Macron, what do they represent and what happens next?

  • Le Pen: The anti-European Unionist

Le Pen wants France out of the European Union. Credit: AP

Ms Le Pen is France's far-right candidate.

A lawyer by training, she is the leader of the National Front whose vision for France diametrically opposes rival Mr Macron's.

She wants France to follow Britain and leave the European Union - via a referendum.

The 48-year-old's election campaign majored on jobs, security and the threat from Islamic extremism.

Her vision for a more inward-looking France has been bolstered by several terrorist attacks which have hit the country over the past two years.

She wants priority for French nationals, extra tax on foreign workers and imports and a restriction on immigration to 10,000 a year.

In her own words she is the "great alternative" in French politics, and says the debate over globalisation is "open".

  • Macron: The centrist

Emmanuel Macron only recently founded En Marche. Credit: AP

Pro-EU Mr Macron was the Socialist finance minister and an advisor to Hollande until just a few months ago.

Since then he has broken away and founded the En Marche movement -which he defines as centrist.

The 39-year-old has never held elected office, and previously worked as a civil servant and investment banker.

Described as centrist and liberal economically, Mr Macron wants to remake the French political system, relax labour laws, cut business taxes, reform the unemployment system, cut public spending and shrink the public sector.

  • So what happens next?

France will decide on May 7. Credit: AP

The French political landscape has been drastically reshaped.

This is the first time that the run-off has not featured a candidate either from the left Socialists or the right-wing Republicans - the two main political groups that have governed the country since 1945.

Defeated candidate Mr Fillon has already given his backing to Mr Macron, while other French politicians from the left and right are also following suit.

The polls suggest that Mr Macron should defeat Ms Le Pen in two weeks time. But as we know, polls can sometimes be inaccurate.