Centrist Macron to face far-right's Le Pen in French presidential run-off: CNN
French centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron greets supporters -- (AFP)

Centrist Emmanuel Macron was holding off far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round of voting to become France's new president on Sunday, with both candidates heading to a run-off.

Polls had consistently shown that Macron and Le Pen would be the top two choices in Sunday's voting, with the two candidates now facing off in a run-off on May 7.

The two candidates seek to replace President Francois Hollande, who decided in December not to seek re-election after a five-year term where he was harshly criticized for failing to turn around a depressed economy,

The result of the final election will have serious implications for the fate of the European Union following Britain's Brexit vote last year.