19:44 GMT +319 August 2019
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    French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen. (File)

    Le Pen Leading in French Presidential Election as 50% of Votes Counted

    © AFP 2019 / Joel Saget
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    French Citizens Elect New President (48)
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    French far-right presidential candidate and National Front leader Marine Le Pen is leading in the election with 24.10 percent of votes, according to Interior Ministry's preliminary data as over 50 percent of votes have been counted.

    Independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has gained 22.44 percent as of the data up to date.

    The Republicans' candidate Francois Fillon has already received 19.57 percent of French citizens' votes in his favor, according to the preliminary data.

    Macron and Le Pen apparently make it into the second round of the presidential vote.

    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. 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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    French Citizens Elect New President (48)

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