Outperforming the far right's record election score set by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, Marine Le Pen has emerged as a kingmaker as Socialist Francois Hollande and the conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy are headed for a runoff on May 6.
Also, Le Pen's record-breaking 18.2 percent vote share has paved the way for her National Front to try its luck in breaking into the parliament at a legislative election in June.
As if the case of Le Pen's record was not enough, this election also saw a sitting president losing in the first round for the first time in the modern era.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the fiery extreme left candidate couldn't live up to expectations in the first round and has asked his supporters to vote for Hollande in a runoff.
Le Pen, who has been referred to as a dash of nice in the nasty party, appeared suitably excited about her win. This first round is the start of a vast gathering of right-wing patriots, Le Pen told her overjoyed supporters at her Paris headquarters, Reuters reported. The Battle of France has only just begun.
She joined party workers to celebrate the victory and was seen sipping champagne and dancing to disco classics.
Le Pen is expected to talk about the strategies for the second round at a May Day rally in Paris. However, it is unlikely that she will declare her support to either of the frontrunners.
She has said before there would be no alliance, National Front vice-president Marie-Christine Arnatu told Reuters. I don't think she will change her mind now.
Jean-Marie Le Pen won 16.8 percent in the first-round vote in 2002, beating Socialist Lionel Jospin to face the conservative Jacques Chirac in a runoff. Though his daughter hasn't been able to make it to the second round, political pundits see it as a blessing in disguise, because Le Pen failed to make an impact in the runoff as millions of left-wingers unanimously supported the centre-right incumbent Chirac in 2002.
The 14-day period between the two rounds of voting in 2002 was marked by demonstrations against the ex-paratrooper Le Pen and slogans such as Vote for the crook, not for the fascist or Vote with a clothespin on your nose, with all parties except National Front campaigning heavily against the far right, which helped Chirac win by a landslide.
Jean-Marie Le Pen said his daughter's presidential score boded well: I think this shows that at the parliamentary election, we will have a lot of seats, he said.
There is great hope for us.
National Front could be eyeing for the longer-term targets such as the 2017 presidential election, apart from its high prospects in June's parliamentary election.