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Incumbent Emmanuel Macron will face far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen in a winner-takes-all runoff for the French presidency after they both advanced Sunday in the first round of voting in the country’s election to set up another head-to-head clash of their sharply opposing visions for France.

The election outcome will have wide international influence as Europe struggles to contain the havoc wreaked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

French Presidential Election: 10 development

The election outcome will have wide international influence as Europe struggles to contain the havoc wreaked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Macron has strongly backed European Union sanctions on Russia while Le Pen has worried about their impact on French living standards. Macron also is a firm supporter of NATO and of close collaboration among the European Union’s 27 members.

To win in round two, both Macron and Le Pen now need to reach out to voters who backed the 10 presidential candidates defeated Sunday.

To beat Le Pen, Macron will aim to pick apart her attempted rebranding as a less dangerous political force, a makeover that has even highlighted her love of cats.

Le Pen, who had eaten into Macron's once-commanding 10-point poll lead in recent weeks thanks to a campaign focused on cost-of-living issues said she was the one to protect the weak and unite a nation tired of its elite.

A Le Pen victory on April 24 would be a similar jolt to the establishment as Britain's Brexit vote to leave the European Union (EU) or Donald Trump's 2017 entry into the White House.

Le Pen, an open admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin until his invasion of Ukraine, had for months toured towns and villages across France. She focused on cost-of-living issues troubling millions and tapped into anger toward rulers.

Macron came out on top in the first round on Sunday, with a projected score of 28.6 to 29.7 percent, followed by Le Pen on 23.5 to 24.7 percent, using projections by polling firms based on samples from voting stations.

With more than 90 percent of the vote counted in the first round, projections showed Macron scoring 28-29 percent, with Le Pen on 22-24 percent.

The candidates for France's traditional parties of government -- the Socialists and the Republicans -- were meanwhile on course for humiliating defeats and historic low scores.

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