ELECTION DAY IN FRANCE
French voters cast their ballots in the first round of presidential elections on Sunday after a campaign overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The final rate of abstention is projected to reach 26.5%, according to pollsters Ipsos-Sopra Steria, four points higher than in the first round in 2017. Follow election day as it unfolded on our live blog.
Eleven challengers – from a Communist on the left to anti-immigration candidates on the far right – are looking to unseat the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, as he seeks to become the first French president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002. The two candidates who garner the most votes will qualify for the election’s second and final round on April 24.
Purchasing power and the war in Ukraine have topped voter concerns in the final stretch of an unusually subdued campaign, which has largely been overshadowed by the outbreak of war. Some 48.7 million people are registered to vote, though surveys have warned that as many as one in four may abstain from voting.
First exit polls are expected at 8pm Paris time (GMT+2) when the last polling stations close in Paris and other cities. Until then, French media are barred from quoting candidates or publishing opinion polls to ensure they don’t unduly influence voters.
Voters must show proof of identity to cast their ballots. To find out whether you are registered and where you should vote, click here.