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French voters begin casting ballots in presidential election

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-04-2017 AP

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 0600 GMT for some 47 million eligible voters, who will choose between 11 candidates. It’s the most unpredictable election in generations.

Also 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 lackluster economy and security issues topped voters’ concerns.

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

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