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France chooses president in crucial election

Sunday, May 07, 2017 - 01:37

Emmanuel Macron is favourite to win in opinion polls as France elects a new president. Members of feminist group Femen are also detained in a protest against Le Pen. Report by Pascale Davies.

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Voting has started in France, with stations opening in traditional French style. In Paris, volunteers were welcomed with coffee and croissants, and voters have been given ballot papers. It's a choice between independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, a 39 year old Pro European Union centrist whose En Marche movement is only a year old, and the Far right National Front candidate, Marine le Pen, who has campaigned on a platform of nationalism. She wants to leave the euro and put up trade barriers. Spirits are high. In the northern town of Henin-Beaumont- which has so far supported Le Pen, feminist group FEMEN - protesting topless against her becoming president. Some demonstrators detained. Meanwhile, in the northern seaside town of Le Toquet, where Macron and his wife are seen as local celebrities- not everyone's feeling inspired. The latest opinion poll gives Macron a 23- to 26-percentage-point lead over Le Pen .But abstention is expected to be high. That could play into the hands of Le Pen, whose die-hard supporters are more likely to vote. Sunday's contest marks the end of a brutal campaign characterised by extraordinary twists and turns. It's seen the collapse of traditional mainstream candidates: former favourite Francois Fillon's campaign derailed by embezzlement allegations. The latest drama unfolded on Friday. Macron's campaign revealing it has been the victim of a "massive and co-ordinated" hacking operation.

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France chooses president in crucial election

Sunday, May 07, 2017 - 01:37