November 16, 2016 / 10:17 AM / 9 months ago

Former banker Macron joins French presidential race

Emmanuel Macron, former French economy minister and head of the political movement "En Marche" or "Forward", delivers a speech to announce his candidacy for the 2017 French presidential election as part of a visit at the Campus des Metiers et de l'Entreprise in Bobigny, near Paris, France, November 16, 2016.Jacky Naegelen

PARIS (Reuters) - French former economy minister Emmanuel Macron joined the 2017 presidential election race on Wednesday, formally announcing that he was entering the contest as an independent candidate.

Macron, a 38-year old former investment banker, made his mark deregulating services including bus transport during a stint in Socialist President Francois Hollande's government. He has never held elected office.

His candidacy increases the number of contenders taking part in a two-round election where just two go through to the run-off in May. Opinion polls have so far suggested the most likely scenario is a duel between conservative Alain Juppe and far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus

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