Former banker Macron joins French presidential race

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.