November 16, 2016 / 10:17 AM / a year ago

Former banker Macron joins French presidential race

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.

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. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

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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