Few could have asked for a better start to a political career than the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
The current frontrunner is a graduate of elite National School of Administration, which produces the country’s top civil servants and counts three French presidents among its alumni.
Macron will be hoping to make it number four in May. As things stand he looks best positioned to fend off the far-right candidacy of Marine Le Pen, who he is predicted to easily beat in a second round runoff – if the polls are correct.
After graduating, Macron worked as a financial inspector at the Ministry of Economy before joining Rothschild & Cie bank as an investment banker.
Politically, he was a member of the Socialist Party for three years, before becoming an independent politician in 2009.
The 39-year-old’s first roles came under Francois Hollande as a member of his personal staff and later as a minister of economy, industry, and digital affairs under the government of Manuel Valls.
As the western world turns increasingly to the far right, Macron is unabashedly centrist in his outlook, appealing to French citizens who are familiar with the chaotic aftermath the election of Trump in the United States and Brexit in the UK caused.
His policies are the status quo, with a nod to the progressive currents emerging in the US and Britain.
Unlike several of his opponents on the left and right, Macron has avoided making pronouncements against Muslim dress codes and is a fierce defender of an open immigration system.