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Voting begins for French presidential runoff

May 07, 2017 12:24 PM

Punjab News Express
PARIS: Voting began on Sunday across France in the final presidential runoff where independent centrist Emmanuel Macron is vying against far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, the media reported.

Polling stations opened in metropolitan France at 8 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

The stations will remain open in some big cities until 8 p.m., with early estimates of the result due to be reported immediately after they close, the BBC reported.

Citizens in some overseas territories and many French expats abroad have begun voting as of early Sunday.

Macron, 39, and Le Pen, 48, who topped a field of 11 presidential hopefuls in the first round election on April 23, have offered voters starkly different visions of France, reports the BBC.

Macron, a liberal centrist, is pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union (EU), while Le Pen campaigned on a France-first, anti-immigration programme.

She wants France to abandon the euro in the domestic economy, and hold a referendum on France's EU membership.

Five new opinion polls published on Friday forecast that Macron would win the election with a share of 62-63 per cent, comfortably defeating Le Pen, reports The Guardian.

He still holds a 20 per cent lead.

Macron, if successfu, would become the youngest President in the history of France and the nation's youngest leader since Napoleon.

If Le Pen wins, she would be the first female head of state in France.

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