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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Presidential Election in France gets underway

French voters head to the polls on Sunday in the first step of a nail-biting two-round process to elect France’s next president.

The election, which will choose a leader with some of the greatest executive powers among western democracies, has turned into a 4-way cliffhanger after months of campaigning marked by embezzlement scandals, terror attacks, the collapse of old mainstream parties and the rise of candidates from the extreme right and left. 

On Sunday evening, when polling stations close, France will discover the 2 frontrunners who will face each other in a runoff on May 7. The names will provide an indication as to whether the eurozone’s second-largest economy will succumb to the populist tide shaking the postwar liberal order in Europe.
 
Emmanuel Macron, one of the Presidential contenders
The French have elected their president directly since 1965 (their first directly elected president was Charles de Gaulle, who was the instigator of this reform and won re-election that year). On Sunday, more than 45million registered voters will be able to choose between 11 candidates in polling stations open from 8am till 7pm or 8pm throughout the country.

Only when the polling stations close will the main television news channels be able to disclose the two frontrunners who will face each other in a runoff round on May 7. To do so, they will use estimates they have commissioned from pollsters based on partial results from a sample of polling stations and algorithms. The actual shares of votes will be firmed up during the evening.
 Presidential contender - Marine Le Pen
Given how tight the four main contenders have been in surveys published in the final hours of the campaign, a delay in announcing the first-round winners is possible, pollsters have warned. The definitive vote counts will be published by the Constitutional Council, which usually happens later in the evening.
Francois Fillon, one of the Presidential contenders in France
On polling day, extra security measures are in place after Karim Cheurfi, a convicted criminal, shot a police officer in the head on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Cheurfi was killed by security forces and note defending the so-called Islamic State group was found near his body.

National security had been one of the main talking points during the campaigns, but candidates have been accused of exploiting the most recent attack for political gains.
Presidential aspirant, Jean-Luc Mélenchon

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