Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are projected to advance to the second round of the French presidential election, an analysis of early results showed, setting up a rematch of the 2017 contest.

Macron, France's current president, appears poised to take 28.6% of the votes from the first round of the election on Sunday, putting him in first place, according to an analysis conducted by pollster Ifop-Fiducial for French broadcasters TF1 and LCI. Le Pen, a long-time standard-bearer for the French far-right, is on track to come in second with 23.6%.

Twelve candidates ran for the top job. Since none of them received more than 50% of the ballots in the first round, the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff on April 24.

A woman picks her ballots in the first round of the French presidential election in Lyon, central France, on Sunday.

The contest was marked by voter apathy, with voter participation estimated at 73.3%, according to Ifop-Fiducial, the lowest in a first round in 20 years. While Macron appears on track to win the first round, he is a polarizing figure whose approval rating has sagged during his first term.

Macron urged voters to come out for the second round in a speech after the polls closed.

"Nothing is settled and the debate that we will have in the coming 15 days is decisive for our country and our Europe," he said. "I don't want a France which, having left Europe, would have as its only allies the international populists and xenophobes. That is not us. I want a France faithful to humanism, to the spirit of enlightenment,"

Macron is seeking to become the first French president to win reelection since Jacques Chirac in 2002. While polls have given him a consistent edge over the field, the race tightened significantly in the past month.