Marine Le Pen ‘calm’ as voting resumes in French presidential election

Voters are casting their ballots for Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen as the next French president, with turnout up from the first round of the 2022 presidential election.

Turnout at lunchtime local time was 26.4 percent, slightly higher than at the same time in the April 10 vote, which saw all other candidates eliminated to leave only the two known rivals in the running.

Polling stations opened this morning as France began voting in the presidential runoff in a race between incumbent Mr Macron and far-right politician Ms Le Pen.

Mr Macron is in pole position to win re-election in the country’s presidential runoff, but his lead over Ms Le Pen hinges on one major uncertainty: voters who may choose to stay home.

A Macron victory in that vote would make him the first French president in 20 years to win a second term.

All opinion polls of the last few days point to a victory for the 44-year-old pro-European centrist – but the lead over his nationalist rival varies widely, between six and 15 percentage points depending on the poll.

Polls are also predicting what could be a record number of people who will either cast an empty vote or not vote at all.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time on Sunday and will close at 7 p.m. in most places except for major cities, which have opted to keep polling stations open until 8 p.m.

“I’m calm,” Le Pen previously said as she cast her ballot in the northern city of Henin-Beaumont. “I have faith in the French.”

She snapped selfies with fans as Macron greeted crowds with handshakes and hugs in the English Channel seaside town of Le Touquet.

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