Live: Voting in French Election Underway, First Results Expected Around 20PM Local Time

Historic French Presidential election could have a significant impact on the future of the European Union

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.

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan

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.

Emmanuel Macron

Former Economy Minister in Socialist government of the incumbent President, Francois Hollande. Independent candidate.

Benoit Hamon

Candidate of the ruling Socialist Party (Parti socialiste).

Nathalie Arthaud

Professor of economics. Her second presidential candidacy.

Philippe Poutou

Spokesman of the New Anti-Capitalist party.

Jacques Cheminade

Leader of the Solidarity and Progress party.

Jean Lasalle

Former regional deputy.

Jean-Luc Melenschon

Former MEP and leader of the Unsubmissive France movement.

François Asselineau

Leader of the Popular Republican Union.

François Fillon

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.

Source: BBC

Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau