French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been knocked out of a primary to choose the presidential candidate of the centre-right Republican party.
Admitting defeat, Mr Sarkozy endorsed Francois Fillon, a moderate who finished first in Sunday's first round, according to near-complete results.
Alain Juppe, who like Mr Fillon is an ex-prime minister, finished second.
They will face each other in a run-off next Sunday. The winner will compete in next year's presidential election.
The winner of the Republican primary is likely to make the presidential run-off, where he or she will probably face far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
With the governing socialists unpopular and divided, it seems unlikely that any left-wing candidate will survive the first round in April.
Polls currently suggest that the centre-right candidate would win the second round in May.