France's former Economy Minister and banker Emmanuel Macron formally announced he was joining the race for the presidency as he wanted to pull the country into the 21st century.
Speaking to over 200 journalists as well as supporters in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, Macron said that after months of speculation he was ready to announce his bid for running in next year's presidential race.
"I'm ready, that's why I am candidate for the French presidency,"
Macron said France was "blocked" and that next May the people "could refuse the status quo in order to advance."
"The challenge is not to unite the left or the right, but to unite the people of France,"
said Macron during his 20 minute speech.
"I'm convinced our country has the power to advance… France has always been the country of progress, but it has fallen off the path,"
The 38-year-old former investment banker has barely concealed his ambition to occupy the Elysee Palace since he quit the unpopular Socialist government in August.
Earlier, frontrunner Alain Juppe said Mr Macron had "stabbed [President Francois Hollande] in the back".
Macron, a business-friendly former protege of President Francois Hollande, will aim to exploit the deep divisions in the French left in his presidential run.
Hollande, who has the lowest popularity ratings of any post-war president, has said he will not decide until early December whether to seek re-election.
Macron is not expected to run for the nomination of Socialist candidate, but as head of the centrist En Marche movement he created in April. He launched En Marche to promote "new ideas... neither of the right nor the left".
The movement now has almost 97,000 members.