French citizens are heading to the polls to choose between the leader of the centrist "En Marche!" movement Emmanuel Macron (who had 24.01% of the votes in the first round) and the head of the far-right National Front Marine Le Pen (who clinched 21.3% of the first round ballots).
The winner of the run-off election will replace incumbent President Francois Hollande who accepted the position in May 2012 but refused to run for a second term.
Whichever contender is elected, that president-elect would set a historical first.
The 39-year-old Macron would be the youngest president of France if elected, while 48-year-old Le Pen would be the first woman in this post, if she won.
TASS will be keeping you up-to-date on all the latest news, polls and results of France's dramatic presidential election:
As the president-elect tells supporters: "I know what I owe to the people close to me", the crowd starts shouting out his wife's name: "Brigitte, Brigitte!"
Mrs Macron, who has been by his side throughout the campaign, appears on stage moments later.23:55:57 07.05.2017
A journalist has caught National Front leader Marine Le Pen dancing following her defeat in the election:23:49:53 07.05.2017
Macron is addressing his supporters in the center of Paris:23:38:37 07.05.2017
Macron got a staggering 92% of the votes cast by French expatriates living in the US:23:36:40 07.05.2017
The moment when Macron's victory was announced:23:33:41 07.05.2017
Supporters in Paris waiting for Emmanuel Macron:23:25:29 07.05.2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a "very warm exchange" on the phone with Emmanuel Macron, according to AFP. Her spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted earlier that it was a victory for a "strong and united Europe"23:20:57 07.05.2017
Emmanuel Macron's convoy on its way to Louvre where all the newly elected president's supporters are gathering:
Celebrations in Paris in full swing as the president-elect is reportedly on his way to the HQ23:14:58 07.05.2017
The French Interior Ministry has released first official results with 60% of the ballots counted.22:47:34 07.05.2017
Emmanuel Macron has thanked his supporters and vowed to defend French interests:22:46:35 07.05.2017
The US President Donald Trump was among the first ones to congratulate Emmanuel Macron:22:19:19 07.05.2017
The incumbent president Hollande says the French "have confirmed their commitment to the European Union"21:56:17 07.05.2017
Marine Le Pen says she wishes Macron "success":21:07:29 07.05.2017
Tension is growing in Paris ahead of the big news announcement:
The press are getting ready near Louvre ahead of Macron's election event:
People are flocking to Paris city center:
What is going to happen next:
On May, 14 President Hollande’s term expires, so the new president will have to be inaugurated by that time. In mid-May the president will name his prime minister.
Marine Le Pen has arrived at her HQ outside Paris:
The build-up in central Paris ahead of Macron's evening event:
Voting has now ended in most of France but continues in big cities until 19:00 GMT.
A number of online and mainly left-leaning media organisations and websites report they have not been accredited for Le Pen's election evening event in the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern edge of Paris. The outlets including Buzzfeed, Politico, Rue89, Mediapart and Les Jours have all said they have been refused admittance. The left-wing daily newspaper Libération has said it will boycott the event in solidarity.20:03:53 07.05.2017
AFP presents a chart showing what it would mean for either of the hopefuls to be elected president:
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet says he voted by proxy while in space on the ESA mission:
Who were the previous presidents of the republic? What were they best known for?
The courtyard of the Louvre Museum ahead of Macron's evening event:
This is what's happening at Le Pen's headquarters at the moment:19:05:22 07.05.2017
The Elysee Palace is getting ready for a new president. Meanwhile take a look at other presidential residences around the world.18:56:22 07.05.2017
At least 26% of eligible voters in France may skip the polls in Sunday’s runoff presidential election, according to Reuters.18:28:34 07.05.2017
France’s presidential contenders Le Pen and Macron now get back to Paris after voting outside the capital:18:09:57 07.05.2017
According to the French Interior Ministry, the voter turnout in the elections stands at 65,30% as of now, which seems to be a significant drop. In 2012, for example, the turnout at this stage was at 71.96%, while in 2007 - 75.11%.17:44:15 07.05.2017
About 5,500 French citizens are registered as living in Russia. France's ambassador in Moscow has voted today as well:17:38:24 07.05.2017
According to a newspaper, Emmanuel Macron has taken the lead in France’s run-off presidential election. Belgium’s Le Soir said on Sunday citing exit polls conducted by three pollsters that Macron may count on support from 60 or more percent of voters.17:30:34 07.05.2017
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains how the country's electoral system works. Here's everything you need to know:17:07:31 07.05.2017
The top hashtag on Twitter in Paris right now is #Avoté ("voted")17:01:10 07.05.2017
Emmanuel Macron is leading France’s run-off presidential polls at polling stations located in France’s overseas territories and in the United States, according to Le Soir:16:14:01 07.05.2017
Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at a polling station in Le Touquet, northern France15:50:18 07.05.2017
Marine Le Pen exits a voting booth before casting her ballot in Henin Beaumont, France15:02:27 07.05.2017 14:30:31 07.05.2017 14:03:12 07.05.2017 13:42:33 07.05.2017
Marine Le Pen went to the polls to vote in Sunday’s run-off presidential election. According to the BFMTV channel, just as in the first round, Le Pen cast her ballot in the small northwestern town of Henin-Beaumont.
Unlike in the first round, this time around Le Pen drove up to a local polling station in an automobile for security reasons instead of walking there. The National Front leader looked a bit tired. After the vote, she returned to her car passing through a crowd of her supporters surrounded by bodyguards.
Henin-Beaumont is deeply symbolic for Le Pen and her National Front party. It is located in a region gripped by unemployment, which once was one of France’s key coal mining centers. In 2014, the local population overwhelmingly voted for National Front representative Steeve Briois who was elected as the town’s mayor. At present, he is the party’s interim leader substituting for Le Pen who devoted herself to the election campaign.
During the first round of the presidential election Le Pen garnered 46% of votes in Henin-Beaumont compared to 21% across the country.13:12:08 07.05.2017 12:41:22 07.05.2017
Incumbent French President Francois Hollande who is wrapping up his term went to the polls to cast his vote in the run-off presidential election on Sunday. According to the BFMTV channel, he arrived at a polling station in the city of Tulle (central France), where he had previously served as that city’s mayor. The head of state, smiling as he entered the polling station, was greeted by local residents with a poster saying "Thank you for your five-year rule."
During the first round of the presidential election, Hollande likewise voted in Tulle. At that time, he left the city rather quickly. Today, on the contrary, the French president plans to stay in the vicinity for several hours before returning to Paris.12:26:59 07.05.2017
Emmanuel Macron has cast his ballot in the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday. He arrived at a local polling station in the resort city of Le Touquet in northwestern France together with his wife Brigitte.
According to the CNews channel, as he walked along the city’s streets, Macron shook hands with several of the roughly 200 supporters on hand to greet him. The 39-year-old presidential contender is not the most popular politician in Le Touquet, though. Macron came in second there with 30% of the votes during the first round, while Republican candidate Francois Fillon clinched more than 50%.
During the first round, he and his wife likewise voted in Le Touquet. This is due to the fact that the couple has a large three-story mansion in the city, which Brigitte Macron inherited from her parents - the wealthy owners of a chocolate company.
After the vote, the presidential candidate is to leave for Paris, where he will remain at his campaign headquarters. According to the BFMTV channel, Macron is to work on several versions of his address to the French public during the day. Macron will have the chance to address his fellow countrymen twice, first at his headquarters immediately after the early ballot returns are announced and later, during a large rally in central Paris.12:06:25 07.05.2017
France’s run-off presidential election is being held amid tightened security measures, the BMFTV network reported on Sunday.
BMFTV’s report reiterated that the presidential election is taking place amid a state of emergency throughout country. French citizens are casting their ballots nearly three weeks after two individuals suspected of staging terror attacks during the election had been detained in Marseilles and attacks in the heart of Paris, which left one policeman dead and two others wounded.
According to Interior Minister Matthias Fekl, police have been instructed to provide maximum security during the voting. The French Interior Ministry said that more than 50,000 policemen and gendarmes would be engaged in efforts to guarantee public order during the presidential election.
In France’s capital of Paris, public order is maintained by about 12,000 policemen and military servicemen. Security has been tightened at more than 500 out of 896 polling stations. Law enforcement officers and personnel from private security firms are on duty at the entrances to the voting precincts. They will be examining all people coming to the polling stations with the help of metal detectors.11:23:23 07.05.2017 10:45:25 07.05.2017
Polling stations in large cities will be operating until 20:00 (21:00 Moscow Time), and in the rest of the continental France and its overseas territories - until 19:00 (20:00 Moscow Time). The first preliminary results will be made public shortly after 20:00. Voter turnout is expected to be higher than in the first round when it was at quite a robust level for France - 78.69%.10:10:00 07.05.2017
More than 66,000 polling stations opened their doors on Sunday throughout France and its overseas territories in the Eastern Hemisphere. A total of 47 million registered voters are heading to the polling stations to cast their ballots.
All recent polls indicate that Macron is likely to win the run-off election. He is expected to secure at least 62-64% of the vote.
French President Francois Hollande emphasized though that "nothing is predetermined in advance," and Marine Le Pen can achieve far better results than the projected 36-38% figure.
Anyway, there is every indication that she will be getting unprecedented record-setting support from the National Front. Levels are anticipated to surpass 12 million votes, which is twice as much as her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, got in the second round of the 2002 election.
Rainy weather is accompanying the elections in France on Sunday. However, experts note that nature’s whims have never profoundly affected the nation’s voter turnout.09:40:07 07.05.2017 09:00:53 07.05.2017
The polling stations have opened across France.