Head of Paris region Valérie Pécresse will be the presidential candidate of “Les Républicains,” France’s main right-wing party said on Saturday.
Pécresse won 61% of the votes in the final round of the party’s primary election compared to 39% for her challenger Eric Ciotti, a hardliner MP from Nice.
It is the first time the French conservative party picks a woman to be its candidate.
“I am thinking of all French women today and I say ‘thank you’ to party members for their audacity,” Pécresse said at a press conference after results were announced.
“The Republican right is back,” she told supporters.
Pécresse’s positioning on the centre-right could pose a challenge to incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, who managed to attract the votes of centrist-leaning “Les Républicains” supporters in previous elections.