The first round of the important French Presidential election is underway, as candidates cast their votes. This years election is held in a tense atmosphere, after several terrorist attacks in Paris.
According to latest reports from the French Ministry of Interior, the voter turnout up to 15:00 local time stands at 69,42 percent, lower than in two previous elections. In 2012, the turnout was 70,59 percent, and 73,87 in 2007.
French voters choose between 11 candidates in a tightly contested election that has the potential to change the country’s political landscape and influence the European Union.
Who are the candidates?
Here follows the list of all candidates in this years election. Under the French electoral system, two candidates proceed to a run-off if no one wins more than 50 percent of votes in the first round.
Conservative center-right candidate and president of the Debout la France party.
Marine Le Pen
Leader of the Front National. A former lawyer. Her second presidential candidacy.
Former Economy Minister in Socialist government of the incumbent President, Francois Hollande. Independent candidate.
Candidate of the ruling Socialist Party (Parti socialiste).
Professor of economics. Her second presidential candidacy.
Spokesman of the New Anti-Capitalist party.
Leader of the Solidarity and Progress party.
Former regional deputy.
Former MEP and leader of the Unsubmissive France movement.
Leader of the Popular Republican Union.
Former Prime Minister in the government of Nicolas Sarkozy. Candidate of the conservative Republican Party (Les Républicains).
A Tight Race
The polling stations are expected to close at 8 PM local time. Most of the polls predict that Macron and Le Pen will qualify for the run-off on May 7, but the recent surge of support for Melenschon adds to the unpredictability of the election.
Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau