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    Macron May Get 26% in French Presidential Election, Le Pen 23% - Exit Poll

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    French Citizens Elect New President (48)
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    Centrist Emmanuel Macron looks to gain 26 percent votes in the first round of the French presidential elections on Sunday, while far-right Marine Le Pen may have 23 percent, according to the preliminary results of the Belgian media.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — According to the RTBF broadcaster, left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon may hope for 21 percent, while center-right Francois Fillon might get 17 percent.

    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. First results from the French Interior Ministry may appear after 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Paris time (17:00 or 18:00 GMT).

    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.

    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.

    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.

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    French Citizens Elect New President (48)

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    French Presidential Election 2017, Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, France
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