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French vote as Macron aims to beat far-right Le Pen

  • French vote as Macron aims to beat far-right Le Pen
    Polls open as Macron and Le Pen battle for presidency. French vote as Macron aims to beat far-right Le Pen
Region:
Europe
Category:
Politics
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Polls open as Macron and Le Pen battle for presidency.
Emmanuel Macron goes into the election with a reasonable lead in polls over Marine Le Pen, after a fractious campaign

French voters are heading to the polls to decide whether to give centrist Emmanuel Macron five more years as president or replace him with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

After a divisive election campaign, Ms Le Pen faces an uphill battle with her 44-year-old opponent polling ahead.

In order to win they both need to attract voters who backed other candidates in the first round.

But these are two polarising figures in France and abstention is a key factor.

Mr Macron's detractors call him arrogant and a president of the rich, while the far-right leader has been accused of having ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some 48.7 million people are eligible to take part and by midday (10:00 GMT) turnout was down on five years ago at 26.4%, but not as low as in the first round two weeks ago. First projections of who has won will come at 20:00.