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Politics

France votes on Sunday in cliffhanger presidential election

  • Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are the frontrunners among the 12 candidates to win through to the second round in two weeks but opinion polls have suggested the race will be close.
    France votes on Sunday in cliffhanger presidential election Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are the frontrunners among the 12 candidates to win through to the second round in two weeks but opinion polls have suggested the race will be close.
Region:
Europe
Category:
Politics
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French voters are voting in the first round of presidential elections after a campaign overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Interior ministry figures estimated turnout at 25.48 percent at midday on Sunday, down three points from corresponding figures for the first round in 2017.

 

 

Polling stations have opened across mainland France for the first round of a fiercely contested presidential election.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are the frontrunners among the 12 candidates to win through to the second round in two weeks but opinion polls have suggested the race will be close.

Macron voted near his home in the northern French seaside town of Le Touquet. The president and his wife Brigitte left their home shortly after midday and greeted the crowds waiting outside in the sunshine. Several youngsters posed for selfies with the Macrons, who spent more than ten minutes shaking hands with those in the crowd and kissing babies.

Le Pen turned up at a polling station in the northern French town of Hénin-Beaumont, where she scored 46.5% of the vote in the first round of the 2017 presidential election. Le Pen, who is favourite to be in the second round vote, was greeted by a crowd outside and posed for photographs before voting.

Among the first to turn out to vote was the former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy, followed shortly afterwards by the Socialist candidate, Anne Hidalgo, who was the first candidate to cast her ballot, at about 8.30am at a polling station near her home in Paris’s 15th arrondissement.
The prime minister, Jean Castex, voted shortly afterwards in Pyrénées-Orientales, followed by the former Socialist president François Hollande in Corrèze. Hollande, who led France between 2012 and 2017, was accompanied by his partner, the actor Julie Gayet.

Mélenchon, the leader of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) queued up with a crowd of locals waiting to vote at an infants’ school in Marseille, where he has been the local MP since 2017. The mainstream right candidate Valérie Pécresse voted shortly afterwards in her local polling station in Yvelines, west of Paris. Fabien Roussel, the presidential candidate for the Communist party, voted in the north of France. Nathalie Arthaud, of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), who is standing in her third presidential election, also voted on Sunday morning.

The radical rightwing candidate Éric Zemmour and the Ecology candidate, Yannick Jadot, voted in different places in Paris. Another of the 12 candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of the rightwing Debout la France (Stand Up France) party, also on his third presidential campaign, voted in the Essonne department, south of Paris.