Emmanuel Macron is set to become France’s next president after exit polls gave him a strong lead over far-right populist Marine Le Pen.

French polling agencies show the centrist candidate has triumphed over the National Front leader, who is forecast to have won just 35% of the vote.

Macron, 39, will be the youngest French president ever, putting him at the helm of one of the world’s biggest economies.

Le Pen, who had hoped to capitalise on the disillusionment of voters in France, said she had called Macron to congratulate him on his victory just minutes after the polls came in.

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