Emmanuel Macron is currently the favourite to win the 2017 French election.

At 39 years old, he is the youngest candidate in the race – and the only one with no experience in running a campaign.

He served under President François Hollande as Minister of Economy, Industry, and Digital Data, but only truly entered the public consciousness when he rebelled against the socialist party he served, and run as an independent presidential candidate for his ‘En Marche!’ movement.

Now, he is tipped in the polls to go through to the second round of the elections, and face-off with Marine Le Pen for the presidency.

From a political nobody, to one of the front runners of the 2017 French elections, this is everything you need to know about Emmanuel Macron, leader of En Marche!.

Foto: Emmanuel Macron outside 10 Downing Street in central London. source Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Emmanuel Macron was born on 21 December 1977 in Amiens, a city in northern France. He is the eldest child of Jean-Michel Macron and Françoise Macron-Nogues and only family member not to have pursued a career in medicine.

His dad was a neurologist at the University Hospital of Amiens, while his mother was a paediatrician. His younger brother and sister also kept to the family tradition to become a cardiologist and nephrologist respectively.

Macron, on the other hand, has had a fairly non-linear career path. In high school, Macron studied sciences, before going on to take philosophy at Nanterre university. The apprentice philosopher then left Nanterre to head to the Institute of Political Science (Sciences Po), before studying at the " École nationale d'administration (ENA)", two of the most prestigious French schools.

After studying, he became a financial investment banker at Rotschild & Cie. which he left in 2012, before becoming deputy secretary-general at the Elysée. He then served in François Hollande's cabinet as economy minister.

Foto: Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux. source REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

An unconventional romance

In 2007, Macron married his former high-school French teacher Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years his senior. They met at the private, catholic school La Providence in Amiens. At the time, he was 15-years-old.

Brigitte Trogneux was, according to the IB Times, charmed by young Macron's intelligence and once stated: "Emmanuel's skills are totally above average. You can say I say this because we're married, but this is the teacher speaking."

During a speech at their wedding, Macron thanked family and friends for "accepting" and "supporting" the couple throughout the years.

Foto: French President Francois Hollande with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Macron. source AP Photo/Yoan Valat

The beginning of a political career

Macron was asked by Hollande to replace Arnaud Montebourg as Minister of Economy, Industry, and Digital Data in 2014.

Macron's predecessor was considered a protectionist, and his most famous campaign was probably "Made in France," where he pushed individuals to buy French products over foreign goods.

Macron on the other hand, is pro-businesses, pro-EU, and even urged American scientists, academics, and entrepreneurs, who feel uneasy about President Donald Trump's administration, to move to France.

Montebourg was essentially sacked because he was outspoken about government cuts. A threat the Hollande government averted by ousting Montebourg from his position.

Foto: source REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Macron was tasked with reforming France's economy after zero growth for the past three years.

One of Macron's biggest accomplishments as a minister under Hollande is his eponymous pro-business "Loi Macron." He wrote it to steer the socialist government towards more business-friendly policies, and wrote it with Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

This was the first law he tried to pass as economy minister and it was extremely unpopular with the French population as well as Parliament. Many believed that it went against the socialist values of France.

The law was actually so unpopular with both the National Assembly and Senate that it had to be passed by invoking article 49, which made it a question of confidence in Parliament.

The law was a solution to shake up an economy drowning in rules and regulations as well as boost growth. Interestingly, there was no mention of the 35-hour-week working limit, which Macron is extremely vocal about as he says it constrains business.

Foto: source REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Difficult relationship with Hollande

It's no secret that Macron and Hollande have a difficult relationship. The French saying "I love you, me either" comes in mind, when attempting to describe it. Macron was Hollande's mentee. They met in 2006 through a friend, and reports state that they got along well.

In March 2015, Macron was asked in a radio interview with Europe 1 whether he wanted François Hollande to be president again. Macron stated that he was loyal to Hollande and the president of France was the "legitimate" candidate.

A year later, he launched his movement "En Marche!" which roughly translates as "forward." Francois Hollande said of his protégé "he needs to be in the team, under my authority."

"En Marche!"

Although Macron served in a socialist government, he is standing for presidency as an independent, socially liberal, and pro-business centrist candidate. This is seen by many as a rebellion.

On April 6 2016, the political novice, who had never stood for any kind of election, announced in his home town of Amiens the launch of his party. He resigned from government four months later.

Foto: source (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

At the beginning of November 2016, he announced his candidacy for the highest office in the country. At the time, Macron was unknown to most French people.

Starting a movement from scratch, as an unknown candidate, without any experience of how to campaign for a municipal election let alone for the presidency, is a fairly unconventional move in French politics.

He has, however, managed to make a success out of it. Currently, Macron is polling second in the first round, but is tipped to win the second.

Macron's website claims that there are 200,000 members of "En Marche!" although he recently stated in an interview with Quotidien his movement had 220,000 members. Those numbers are difficult to verify, however.

A change of image for France

Macron paints himself as a maverick and anti-establishment, which could serve him well. Like Trump, Macron has been successful in part because he is seen as not being part of the political elite.

Foto: Macron poses for a selfie this month. source AP Photo/Francois Mori

He positions himself at the centre of the political spectrum, trying to woo moderates from both the left, and the right. This in a year where all other candidates are the extreme versions of their own parties.

Benoît Hamon, for example, is a radical in the social party who advocates for a 32-hour work week. Even François Fillon, the presidential candidate in the Republican party, seduces Front National voters as he is a proud Catholic, and champions old-fashioned family values.

Given the current political climate in France, after several terrorist attacks which shook and divided the nation, the centrist position of Macron may be an attractive choice.

His campaign speeches also signal his ambition to transcend political labels and blur party lines. In one of his speeches in Lyon, he declared: "To be moved by the speech of François Mitterand on Europe, a few weeks before his death did you need to be from the left? To feel pride during the speech of Jacques Chirac in the Vel d'Hiv, did you need to be from the right? No, you needed to be French."

A rising star in French politics - or just luck?

Macron's detachment from the main parties, and the fact he is a fresh face in French politics, may be a strength in these elections. That said, he has had a helping from his rivals, who have never been far from controversy.

Foto: source REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Front National's Le Pen is a divisive figure due to her anti-immigrant policies, and the fact her father was convicted of racism several times. Given her party's history, it's rather unsurprising that mobilising a majority of the French behind her may be difficult in the second round, even if she comes out on top in the first.

François Fillon, the leader of the Republican party, has been plagued with scandals. Fillon allegedly paid his Welsh wife Penelope Fillon and two of his children close to €1 million over the span of a decade for jobs they reportedly didn't perform. It is illegal for French politicians to hire family members.

Foto: French Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron during a meeting in Lyon, central France. source AP Photo/Michel Euler

Given the history and issues the other political candidates have, Macron's lack of experience in politics could possibly be seen as a good thing by the electorate.

Seeing Fillon's scandals as an opportunity to send a strong message and score points with voters, Macron vowed to "clean up", and return "morals' to politics.

Macron not free from controversy

But Macron's own campaign hasn't been free controversy. On March 14 2017, a probe was launched into a CES event in Las Vegas where Macron was the main speaker.

Organised while Macron was in charge of the Minister of Economy, it is alleged that public relations giant Havas was awarded a major contract to organise the event without competition.

The candidate's aide stated that "the story isn't about Macron," however.

Foto: Macron with former US Secretary of State John Kerry. source REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

His reported close ties to US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton are not popular in certain corners of the French press, while there are also allegations he used public funds to finance his own presidential campaign.

Earlier in February, a top aide of Macron's also accused Russia of hacking attempts and spreading fake information about him in Kremlin-backed news outlets. He claimed that this was due to Macron's pro-EU stance.

Foto: Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Forward !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, sings the French national anthem at the end of a political rally in Lille, France January 14, 2017. source REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Can an independent, anti-establishment candidate lead France?

Throughout the presidential campaign, Macron imposed himself as the third man in the race. Since Fillon's scandals and fall from grace, however, Macron's popularity has soared.

The 39-year-old former investment banker seems increasingly likely to face Marine Le Pen in a second round on May 7, after the first round which will take place on April 23.

Macron is also untested in the world of politics, so winning the presidential race could be the start of an uphill battle. If he is successful, it will be an impressive achievement.