Le Pen, Macron Leading in French Presidential Vote - First Data

© REUTERS / Pascal RossignolMarine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, casts her ballot in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, April 23, 2017.
Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, casts her ballot in the first round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, April 23, 2017. - Sputnik International
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French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is leading in the vote with 24.15 percent of votes, according to the Interior Ministry's first preliminary data. Independent candidate Emmunuel Macron gains 21.43 percent.

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The Republicans' candidate Francois Fillon got 20.34 percent of French citizens' votes, according to the first preliminary data after 3.76 million votes were counted. Left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon got 17.96 percent of the votes, according to the data.

Meanwhile, the French TF1 broadcaster reported that both Macron and Le Pen gain 23 percent of votes in the first round of the French pelection, thus, make it into the second round of voting. The media outlet also suggested that Melenchon and Fillon would both get 19 percent.

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Exit polls conducted by a Belgian broadcaster have showed earlier in the day that Le Pen and Macron run neck-and-neck with the latest showing that the independent candidate may get some 26 percent of votes, while 23 percent of French citizens support the National Front leader.

At 7 p.m. local time (17:00 GMT) the voting ended as the polling stations across France closed. Extension until 18:00 GMT is possible in some big cities. French media were prohibited by the law from publishing any preliminary results until the last polling stations were closed.

The French residents chose from 11 candidates in the first round, but only two of them will make it to the second round on May 7, which will be held if nobody gets support of more than half of voters.

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