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Presidential candidates for France's mainstream parties failed to make the second round

Poll favorite Emmanuel Macron has never before stood for elected office

CNN  — 

A political novice who has never before stood for elected office is facing off against a far-right nationalist from the fringes of French politics – it’s safe to say France’s presidential election is one for the history books.

Voters collectively turned up their noses at the political establishment Sunday, in the first round of the French presidential election. With 97% of polling stations declared, the stage is set for a run-off vote between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen on May 7.

Even third place was a close race between another outsider – left-wing firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon – and scandal-hit Republican Francois Fillon, the sole frontrunner representing a mainstream French party.

How did we get here?

Rewind five years. In the final round of the last presidential election, Socialist François Hollande beat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement (now known as the Republicans).

The two parties have dominated French politics since the 1980s – similar to the grip Republicans and Democrats