Voting underway for French presidential run-off (Ld)

Paris, April 24 (IANS) Voting is underway on Sunday in the French presidential run-off in which people will make a choice between incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen as their new leader.
 
Voting underway for French presidential run-off (Ld)

Paris, April 24 (IANS) Voting is underway on Sunday in the French presidential run-off in which people will make a choice between incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen as their new leader.

Voting began at 8 a.m. and m polling stations in Metropolitan France is set to close at 7 p.m. or one hour later in larger cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux, reports Xinhua news agency.

Eligible voters in French overseas territories already cast their ballots on Saturday.

After a televised debate on April 20, almost all opinion polls predicted that Macron would lead this presidential runoff.

But local media are worried that a low turnout rate, especially during this spring holiday period, could reverse the predictions, as the abstention rate of the first round of voting reached 26.31 per cent.

According to opinion polls, voter turnout could be the lowest since 1969.

Most of the unsuccessful candidates of the first round have clearly voiced their support for Macron, while far-left wing party Unsubmissive France leader Jean-Luc Melanchon, reaching third place, instead of calling on his supporters to vote for the incumbent President, asked his supporters not to "give a vote" to Le Pen.

At 8 p.m., highly accurate first estimations and exit polls will be allowed for the public.

According to the results of the first round of voting published by France's Constitutional Council, Macron won 9,783,058 votes, (27.85 per cent) and Le Pen won 8,133,828 votes (23.15 per cent).

During the first round of voting held on April 10, 35,923,707 voters had cast their ballots.

In 2017, Macron and Le Pen also competed for the French presidency in a runoff vote, during which Macron was elected president with 66.10 per cent of the votes.

--IANS

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