France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron went from being a virtual political unknown to the leader of the world’s fifth-largest economy in little more than a year. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the key moments in his rapid ascension to the Élysée presidential palace.

April 6, 2016

Moving Forward

Just over a year before France’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron launches his own En Marche! (Forward!) movement, which he says will be neither on the left or the right of the political spectrum. The move immediately fuels speculation about the former investment banker’s presidential ambitions.

August 30, 2016

Quits Hollande

A popular but isolated economy minister under Socialist President François Hollande, Macron quits the government to “open a new chapter” in his career. He leaves behind his political mentor, who is struggling with record-low approval ratings.

November 16, 2016

Outsider candidate

Macron announces his candidacy for France’s highest office. As a former minister who has never held elected office, and lacking an established party apparatus to run his campaign, he is given little chance of success by commentators.

November 27, 2016

Scandal-plagued conservative

Former prime minister François Fillon wins France’s mainstream conservative presidential nomination. Many moderates within the Les Républicains party consider Fillon too far on the right on the economy and on social issues. He will soon be engulfed in a scandal involving his wife and an alleged fake parliamentary assistant job.

December 1, 2016

President no more

Ending months and even years of speculation, President Hollande announces he will not seek re-election. The massively unpopular president faces divisions within his own Socialist camp, as well as a rival bid from his former adviser and protégé Macron.

December 10, 2016

High gear

Macron kicks off his presidential campaign in earnest, giving a speech to 15,000 supporters gathered in Paris. His vision of a multicultural, pro-European and market-friendly France appeals to young voters in particular, but opinion polls put him at a distant third in the race less than five months before the election.

January 29, 2017

Divided Socialists

Underdog Benoît Hamon wins the Socialist Party’s presidential primary with a left-wing platform that many think will be indefensible in the general election. Hamon’s victory divides the ruling party, with primary rival and former PM Manuel Valls eventually endorsing Macron for the presidency.

February 22, 2017

Top centrist’s endorsement

Centrist figurehead François Bayrou declares he will not stand as a presidential candidate, instead joining Macron’s campaign. A veteran of three previous presidential races, Bayrou collected 18.6% of votes in France’s 2007 election.

March 2, 2017

Pole position

After months of mystery, Macron finally unveils his presidential programme, which contains a mix of policy proposals that appeal to both social progressives and business leaders. With rivals struggling in the race, Macron pulls ahead of both Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen in opinion polls.

April 23, 2017

Wins first round

Macron wins the first round of France’s presidential election, moving to the run-off poll with far-right leader Le Pen. It’s an earthquake for French politics, with the two main parties sidelined from the race.