France’s conservative The Republicans party on Saturday chose the moderate chief of the Paris region Valerie Pecresse to challenge President Emmanuel Macron in the elections next year.
Pecresse won almost 61 percent of the vote among party members while Eric Ciotti won just over 39 percent, party leader Christian Jacob said.
Both had made the run-off after the first round of voting earlier this week upended expectations.
Ciotti accepted defeat and immediately pledged to support Pecresse and called for her to fight “Macronism”, referring to her future rival.
She is the first-ever female presidential candidate of the The Republicans (LR) conservative party and presents herself as a voice of moderation, over hardliner Ciotti.
The favourites ex-minister Xavier Bertrand and former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were both knocked out and went on to back Pecresse.