12:34 GMT +324 September 2019
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    Emmanuel Macron, leader of En Marche! movement, center, is seen here in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage in the Pas-de-Calais department during the first round of the French presidential elections.

    Macron Leading in First Round of French Election With 24% - Exit Poll

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    French Citizens Elect New President (48)

    Independent candidate Emmanuel Macron is winning the first round of the French presidential election with 24 percent of the votes, Belgian media reported Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the RTBF broadcaster, citing the data of several research institutes, the National Front's candidate Marine Le Pen, The Republicans' nominee Francois Fillon and left-wing independent candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon would have between 18 percent and 20 percent of the votes each.

    The first official results and exit polls will appear in the French media only after the last polling stations are closed, which will happen in about two-three hours.

    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.

    ​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.

    French Citizens Elect New President (48)


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