French voters begin casting ballots in presidential election

2017-04-23 09:01
A woman casts her vote for the first-round presidential election at a polling station in Paris. (Emilio Morenatti, AP)

A woman casts her vote for the first-round presidential election at a polling station in Paris. (Emilio Morenatti, AP)

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Paris - French voters have begun casting ballots for the presidential election in a tense first-round poll that's seen as a test for the spread of populism around the world.

Over 60 000 polling stations opened on Sunday at 06:00 GMT for some 47 million eligible voters, who will choose between 11 candidates. It's the most unpredictable election in generations.

READ: Who are France's presidential candidates?

Polls suggest far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, were in the lead.

But conservative Francois Fillon, a former prime minister, appeared to be closing the gap, as was far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

France's 10% unemployment, its lacklustre economy and security issues topped voters' concerns.

Early voting began on Saturday in France's overseas territories.

Read more on:    france

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