Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen came second to her centrist rival, Emmanuel Macron, during the first round of elections.

In what was an incredibly close contest between all of the rivals, the two candidates emerged victorious.

But opinion polls suggest Mr Macron may well easily beat Le Pen during the final contest.

Despite this, Ms Le Pen told her supporters she remains determined to become the first far-right female president of France.

'Determined to defeat nationalism'

With defeated socialist candidate Benoit Hamon and republican Francois Fillion out of the race, Mr Macron could easily pick up support from these two contestants in an effort to defeat the National Front's Le Pen.

During his speech acknowledging his triumph, Mr Macron told his activists that he owed his victory to them.

In a jibe at his Frexit rival, he said he is determined to defeat French nationalism.

Regardless of what the opinion polls say, there are numerous floating voters out there who Mr. Macron has to convince he is serious about becoming president, especially with his lack of political experience.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, another defeated candidate, refused to endorse either candidate due to his opposition towards extremism.

This makes it difficult to predict which candidate his former supporters will vote for.

'Defend French jobs against globalisation'

Ms Le Pen has the advantage of being able to persuade voters that she has transformed the toxic image of her party in a bid to broaden the support her party normally secures.

She has been able to do this despite emerging as the anti-EU and anti-euro candidate who would fight the establishment.

The National Front contestant has pledged to defend French jobs against globalisation and the free movement of capital throughout the EU.

She attacked Mr. Macron's stance of supporting the status quo that will put France at risk of terrorism whilst her country remains a member of the Schengen Agreement, which guarantees the free movement of people throughout the EU.

In response to the recent Paris attacks, the Frexit candidate wants to close France's borders as soon as she is elected.

In contrast to her opposite number, Le Pen wants to issue a referendum on France's membership of the EU immediately.

She also wants to pull France out of the Euro.

If she wins the final round, she would have secured a victory her father failed to do.

Those who have completed surveys about the election suggest Mr. Macron will easily win with 60% of the vote.

'Strong EU and social market economy'

This contest has been watched very closely by leaders of the EU, who worry that a Le Pen victory could lead to the destruction of the superbloc.

They are also worried that if the Frexit candidate wins, there will not be a united front among EU countries in the upcoming Brexit negotiations with Britain.

It would also mean France could be the next country to vote to leave the economic bloc, adding further uncertainty to the euro's future and European unity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Mr. Macron on Twitter for his 'strong EU and social market economy' policies.

She wished him all the best in upcoming elections.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne tweeted his relief that Mr. Macron won in the first contest.

But politicians abroad who endorsed Le Pen have been quick to pour scorn on the centrist candidate's victory.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted: 'Macron speech was vacuous nonsense. Other than backing the status quo he says nothing.'

Instead of viewing last night's result as defeat for Le Pen, the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who failed to become Dutch prime minister during last month's election, tweeted: 'Congratulations sent to Marine Le Pen. A day of celebration for all patriots in Europe. On the second round and the presidency.'

In 2012, Le Pen came third in the presidential election that year, securing 17.9% of the vote.

She has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004.