On Sunday, over 66,000 polling stations opened in France at 8 a.m. local time (6:00 GMT). About 47 million voters are expected to cast ballots, choosing among 11 presidential candidates. The first results are expected at around 8 p.m. local time later in the day, when the polls close.
Voting at the polling station in the 7th bureau of Paris, where earlier in the day Republicans' party nominee Francois Fillon voted, is going smoothly. Logistics at the polling station are impressive as there are no long lines even in early morning hours, when a lot of French came to vote with their families and kids hoping to see one of the candidates casting his ballot, Sputnik correspondent reported.
One of the voters told the correspondent that Fillon was "the only one capable of ruling the country," while the other candidates were not experienced enough or their programs were not relevant to the modern situation and challenges. The voter also pointed out that the scandals around Fillon did not affect her opinion.
"They [scandals] were mostly exaggerated by the local authorities and if this is the only factor he could be criticized of during his 36-year political career, than we do find it embarrassing," a woman named Liza said.
Another voter named Eloise, who came to the polling station in the center of Paris with two small kids, said she voted for Fillon "for her kids."
"I think he is the best of all candidates. I voted for Fillon so my kids have a better future," she pointed.
According to the recent polls he will lose to independent candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round of presidential election.
In order to cast a ballot in France a citizen must be over 18 years old, not legally banned from voting and registered on the electoral list.
The same rules are applied to presidential candidates. They must also show a sense of 'moral dignity', which is a loose term without a clear legal definition. A presidential hopeful must also collect 500 signatures of support from elected representatives.
Anyone who is able to fulfill this criteria becomes eligible to run for the first round. If nobody wins the first round with the absolute majority, the two highest scoring candidates face each other in a runoff.
The French residents will choose 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.