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Election in France: Polls open as Macron and Le Pen fight for presidency France

In continental France, polling stations have opened for the second round of the presidential election, in which voters decide to put Emmanuel Macron in office for another five years or elect Marine Le Pen.

Macron is the favorite to win, but every second term will be determined by whether he ends up with a convincing victory. He and Le Pen need to convince almost 50% of voters who did not vote for either in the first round two weeks ago.

The turnout and the number of people protesting to vote by inserting a blank ballot paper, as promised by many supporters of the “third man”, the radical left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, could affect the outcome.

Former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, mayor of Le Havre, was one of the first to vote in his local polling station. Macron will vote in Le Touquet, where he and his wife Brigitte have a home. Le Pen will vote in Hénin-Beaumont, in the heart of her bastion in northern France. Anne Hidalg, the mayor of Paris and the candidate for president of the Socialist Party, who finished in the first round, voted in Paris 45 minutes after the polls opened. Valérie Pécresse, a candidate for the conservative Les Républicains, voted shortly afterwards.

Polling stations close in most hours in mainland France at 7 pm and in large cities at 8 pm. The estimated result based on the number of specific polling stations selected as the representative of France will be announced at 20:00. Even if it is only an estimate, it is usually a reliable indication of who won if it is not too close to the call and within error.

Due to a time lag, she began voting in France’s overseas territories on Saturday.

The campaign officially ended at midnight on Friday, when all the polls ended and the candidates are obliged to stay in seclusion.

Macron’s program includes a fuel price cap, pension indexation and a gradual increase in the retirement age to 65. He also campaigned for a stronger Europe.

Le Pen promised to lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 for those who started working before the age of 20, reduce VAT on fuel from 20% to 5.5% and a new law that will allow French nationals to give priority to housing, work and benefits. as well as the deportation of illegal immigrants.

Macron and Le Pen won second round two weeks ago when they won less than 9.8 million votes – 27.85% – and she won 8.13 million – 23.15%. Mélenchon finished just third with 7.7 million votes, lacking 420,000 on Le Pen. The candidates on the mainstream right and left lagged behind Pécresse in fifth place and Hidalgo in 10th place; both surveyed below 5%, which means they will not be reimbursed for campaign costs.