Macron, Le Pen to face off following first round of France presidential election

No candidate reached the necessary 50 percent to avoid a runoff in Sunday's French election, meaning the top two candidates will head to a runoff.

Sunday's vote featured 11 candidates, but now attention will turn to May 7 for the second round of voting.

And for the first time in French history, no mainstream candidate will be on the ballot: May's runoff will be between independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and right-winger Marine Le Pen.

Macron, a political novice, earned 24 percent in Sunday's first-round ballot and Le Pen gaining 22 percent of the vote, Reuters reported.

"We're turning a page in French political history," Macron told the French news agency AFP. Supporters were waiting for Macron to speak as of late Sunday afternoon.

Socialist candidate Benoit Hamo and scandal-ridden Conservative candidate François Fillon conceded defeat Sunday afternoon and threw their support behind Macron, condemning the nationalist right-wing views of Le Pen and her National Front party.

"Extremism can only bring unhappiness and division to France," Fillon said. "There is no other choice than to vote against the far right. I will vote for Emmanuel Macron. I consider it my duty to tell you this frankly. It is up to you to reflect on what is best for your country, and for your children."

Marion Maréchal Le Pen, Marine Le Pen's niece and a member of the French Parliament, said that the National Front's presence in a runoff was a big deal for her party.

"For fifteen years, there has not been a pro-sovereignty candidate in the second round of a presidential election," she said. This is a great ideological victory."

Marine Le Pen added her own comments later that afternoon when she addressed supporters in her home constituency of Hénin-Beaumont. She told them that they were choosing between unchecked globalization and homeland-defending nationalism.

"French people must seize this historical opportunity that has opened to them because what is at stake in this election is savage globalization, which jeopardizes our civilization," she said to a roaring crowd.

The French Interior Ministry reported that 69.42 percent of France's 47 million eligible voters participated in Sunday's election, which is a slight decline from 2012.