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France's presidential race has turned out to be one of the most dramatic elections in the country’s history, leaving voters with five candidates to choose from: far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, centrist Emmanuel Macron, centre-right Republican Francois Fillon and socialist Benoit Hamon. In all, 11 candidates were given approval to run in the election.
The run-off is scheduled for May 7.
TASS will be keeping you up-to-date on all the latest news, polls and results of France's dramatic presidential election:
The leader of the En Marche! movement, Emmanuel Macron, wins the first round of the presidential election in France, chalking up 23.75 percent, Reuters reports citing the final results by the country’s interior ministry. Marine Le Pen takes second place with 21.53 percent.
Francois Fillon (The Republicans) comes in third with 19.91 percent, followed by Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) with 19.64 percent.
With 97 percent of ballots counted, Emmanuel Macron gets 23.86 percent of the vote, Marine Le Pen comes in second with 21.45 percent, the French Interior Ministry reports. Francois Fillon (The Republicans) is third with 19.94 percent, and Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) is fourth with 19.61 percent.
Macron, along with his wife Brigitte and closest supporters, is currently celebrating his victory in Cafe de la Rotonde, a famous cafe in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris. Le Pen chose to spend the election night in the Henin-Beaumont commune of the Pas-de-Calais department, where she started her political career.
With nearly all ballots counted, the founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Emmanuel Macron, takes home 23.82% of the vote, winning the first round of the country’s presidential elections, the French Interior Ministry said.
During the May 7 runoff, Macron is expected to face far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who currently scores 21.58% Francois Fillon (The Republicans) is third with 19.96%, followed by Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) with 19.49%
Two protestors were injured in clashes with police that broke out in the French capital of Paris after early results of the presidential elections were announced on Sunday night, the BFMTV channel reported.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in Paris’ Place de la Republique to protest against the results of the vote. Police had to use tear gas and rubber batons against the crowd. The demonstrators started throwing empty bottles and smoke flares in response. Several cars were set on fire.
More than 6.9 million of citizens of France supported far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round of the French presidential elections, Agence France-Presse reports. This result marks an all-time record for her party, the National Front.
With some 40 million ballots counted, Emmanuel Macron scored 23.54% of the vote, while Marine Le Pen got 22.33%, the French Interior Ministry said.
With more than half of all ballots counted in the French presidential elections, the founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Emmanuel Macron, was leading the race with a narrow margin, trailed by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, according to intermediate results announced by the country’s Interior Ministry.
With 33 million ballots counted, Macron scored 23.11% of the vote, while Le Pen got 23.08%. Francois Fillon (The Republicans) is third with 19.81%, followed by Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) with 18.62%. The country has more than 45 million of registered voters in total.
French pollsters anticipate En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron’s convincing victory in the second round of presidential elections in France. Ipsos pollster says Macron can count on 62% of the vote in the runoff voting, while National Front leader Marine Le Pen can score 38% Similar figures are cited by Harris Interactive Poll, which says Macron can clinch 64% of votes.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen is leading the race with 23.6%, closely followed by the founder of the political movement "En Marche!", Emmanuel Macron, with 22.78%, the Interior Ministry said after 28 million votes were already counted. The country has more than 45 million of registered voters in total.
Francois Fillon (The Republicans) is third with 19.69%, while Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) is fourth with 18.43%.
Le Pen gets 24%, Macron - 22% in French presidential polls with 20 million votes counted, the French Interior Ministry says.
French President Francois Hillande has called En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron to congratulate him on his success at the first round of presidential elections, Prance Presse said citing a source in the Elysee Palace.
A group of protesters, that has gathered in Paris’ Place de la Bastille to protest against what they call a ‘masquerade of elections,’ clashed with police on Sunday evening, Le Parisien said in its on-line edition.
According to the newspaper, the protesters planned to hold a ‘night of barricades.’ The rally that began quite peacefully eventually evolved into clashes with police.
Far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen praised the results of the first round of presidential election as "historic," adding she was the "people’s candidate" in the polls.
"This is a historic result," Le Pen said during an election rally in the Henin-Beaumont commune of the Pas-de-Calais department. She added that the outcome of the vote is "the French people’s first step on the way to the Elysee Palace (the official residence of the French president)."
She urged the citizens of France to support her in the second round of the vote and cast their ballot against what she called "uncontrolled globalization.".
Francois Fillon admits defeat in the first round of presidential polls and endorses Emmanuel Macron calling on his supporters to cast their ballots for the En Marche! leader, who will vie for presidency in the runoff election.
"Despite all the effort, I have failed to convince the French. It is my defeat but I call on you to stay united to protect our values at the parliamentary elections. The voice of the right must be heeded," he said on Sunday at his election headquarters in Paris.
France’s Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve gives his endorsement to Emmanuel Macron calling on voters to cast their ballots for the En Marche! leader in the runoff election, according to France Presse.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault throws his support behind presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and calls on voters to cast their ballots for him in the runoff elections.
"The choice is obvious: the entire left, all of the Republicans must mobilize to vote for Macron, for France, for the republic, for Europe," he wrote on his Twitter account.
Emmanuel Macron said he plans to set up a broad coalition of ‘progressive forces’ ahead of France's parliamentary elections scheduled for June.
David Rachline, the chief of Marine Le Pen’s election headquarters, says he is satisfied with the results of the first round of France’s presidential polls.
"It is a good outcome, it can be said, historical," he said.
Benoit Hammon calls on his fellow countrymen to vote for the "En Marche!" leader, Emmanuel Macron, in the runoff election on May 7.
Marine Le Pen's niece Marion on the first round's preliminary results: "a great victory for patriots."
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are the leaders of the first round of France’s presidential elections, BFM TV said immediately after the end of polling.
Macron in winning 23.7% of the vote, Le Pen - 22%.
Voting at the first round of French presidential elections is over as all polling stations have closed by 20:00 local time (21:00 Moscow time).
Polling stations in French regions closed one hour before. First results will be announced soon.
Belgium’s RTBF says citing its own polls that Emmanuel Macron is leading in the first round with 26% of the vote.
Journalists are waiting for the arrival of Francois Fillon:
The press has gathered outside Marine Le Pen headquarters in Henin-Beaumont:
According to Belgium’s RTBF, Emmanuel Macron is leading in the first round with 24% of the vote.
"As of 17:45 local time (18:45 Moscow time), several polls indicate that Macron is the leader with 24% of the vote, outstripping Le Pen, Fillon and Melenchon (from 18 to 20%)," RTBF said.
Security is tightened at the headquarters of the leading candidates.
About 20% of eligible voters in France may skip taking part in Sunday’s presidential poll, Elabe pollster reports.
The voter turnout as of 17:00 local time (18:00 Moscow time) was 69.42%, according to the French interior ministry.
According to Belgium’s RTB, France’s presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is leading Sunday’s polls among the French living in the United States and Canada.
French nationals who took part in Sunday’s voting in the French embassy in Moscow told TASS they want changes for their country.
The voter turnout at the presidential polls in France has reached nearly 70%, the French Interior Ministry reports.
According to the ministry, the figure is slightly lower than in 2012 (70.59%).
US President Donald Trump on the election:
According to Belgium’s RTBF, Jean-Luc Melenchon is leading in France’s overseas territories where voting took place on Saturday due to the time gap. Thus, according to the Belgian television channel, Melenchon scored 27.36% of the vote in Martinique, 34.45% - in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, 24.72% - in French Guiana. Macron is leading the polls in Guadeloupe.
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are leading in the first round of presidential elections as of mid-day, Belgium’s RTBF said citing its exit polls.
In European France, Macron is winning 24% of the vote, Le Pen - 22%, according to RTBF. They are followed by Francois Fillon (The Republicans) with 20.5% of votes and Jean-Luc Melenchon (La France insoumise) with 18%.
French nationals in Tel Aviv waiting to cast their ballots.
People in London waiting to vote in the election.
Long lines have been reported at the French Embassy in Dublin.
All 11 candidates have already voted in the first round of the election.
Long lines have been reported in Montreal, Canada, people have been sharing pictures and videos.
The French, staying abroad, post on social networks pictures of long lines to the polling stations in various countries. The French media, publishing the pictures, write the French are highly active on the election day.
Les Echos writes the line of people opposite the Charles De Gaulle Lycee in London is a few hundred meters long. Mine-Matin publishes posts of the French, who went to polling stations in San Paulo, Singapore and Tokyo. The users write the waiting time was 2-3 hours.
Video: Jean-Luc Melenchon casts his vote.
The candidate from La France insoumise movement Jean-Luc Melenchon has cast ballot at the presidential election, BFM-TV reports.
He came to a polling station in Paris. The candidate was surrounded by reporters. Melenchon was in high spirits, and joined voters for photo sessions. Later on, he went to his election headquarters, from where he promised to make a statement as the first round’s results are announced.
Two polling stations close in France, according to Agence France-Presse.
Visitors at a polling station in Besancon in eastern France were evacuated because of a suspicious car, according to Le Echos.
The newspaper reports the car was on the wanted list and it was idle by the polling station, with the engine working.
"The police are searching for the people from the car, the situation is under control," law enforcers said.
The queue at the polling station in London.
Four hours after polling stations opened, the turnout is 28.54% of the registered voters, the country's Interior Ministry reports.
According to the ministry, this turnover is higher than it was in 2012 (28.29%), though lower than in 2007 - 31,21%.
The Interior Ministry has found an unusual way of drawing the voters' attention - with a well-known meme:
The National Front leader Marine Le Pen has voted in the presidential election:
Carla Bruni, the wife of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, has come up with an election song in which she encourages the French people to vote "even if it's not for your man" - a reference to her husband who crashed out in the primaries, losing to Francois Fillon.
One of the front-runners Emmanuel Macron has voted in Touquet. The candidate had to wait in a long line to cast his vote. People greeted him warm-heartedly and cheered for Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
Socialist Party candidate Benoit Hamon has cast his vote in Trappes:
Reporters are gathering at the Jean-Jacques Rousseau school in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont where the far-right Front National (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen is due to vote later this morning.
French journalist Pierre Tremblay has posted a video of the assembled media:
Pamela Anderson, who has been living in France for quite a while, has voiced her support for Jean-Luc Melenchon as he was the one to promise political asylum both to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange:
The president of France François Hollande came to the polling station, surrounded by the guard, greeted the mayor and spoke to reporters. After the voting, he talked with the locals for quite a time. Later on, Hollande will have to come to Paris, where he will further follow the elections.
According to Le Figaro, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan was reportedly the first candidate to vote. The Debout la France candidate cast his ballot at a polling station in his hometown of Yerres dans l’Essonne outside Paris. It has also been reported that Francois Fillon's wife Penelope was also one of the first to have cast her vote.
Thousands in Montreal put up with hours-long wait to cast their vote for next president of France:
Many French expatriates have already voted, with hundreds of thousands living in the western hemisphere - including about 120,000 French people living in the US who cast their ballots earlier on Saturday.
France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged his fellow countrymen to vote for Francois Fillon in the first round of the presidential election.
First preliminary results may be voiced before midnight. Publication of any surveys or comments on the voting, as well as statements from winners are outlawed, and violators may face fines from 75,000 to 350,000 euros.
50,000 police and 7,000 military will guard the voting process in France. The France-Enfo radio station said many employees of private security agencies are involved in the protection of polling stations this year. Certain big polling stations are equipped with "alarm buttons", using which the personnel can for the police.
This year’s presidential election is in the atmosphere of the high terrorist alert. Last week in Marseilles, two plotters of terrorist attacks during the election were arrested. It is quite probable the plots included murder of someone from the candidates. On April 20, a 39-year-old man opened fire on the Champs Elysees, killing one and wounding two police officers. The attacker was killed on the spot.
Social experts forecast the turnover may be rather low even despite the heated campaign before the first round. Results of surveys, conducted in mid-April, show about 30% of the French would not vote. Recently, this figure has lowered, but still the passive record of the 2002 presidential election may be beaten. At that time, 28% of the French voters chose to ignore the election.
45 million French citizens have registered to vote in the first round of elections.
The polling stations have opened across France.