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French elections: Candidates cast their ballots in final round of voting

France

<p>The two remaining candidates in the French presidential race on Sunday morning cast their ballots a few hours after polls opened. </p> <p>Far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen was the first of the two candidates to vote in her home town of Henin-Beaumont. </p> <p>The former coal mining community in northern France, which has an unemployment rate of nearly 20 per cent, is a stronghold of Le Pen’s National Front party and its affiliates. </p> <p>Centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte voted at a polling station in Le Touquet in the north of France where he was given a warm reception by supporters. </p> <p>The 39-year-old former economy minister wants to bridge the left-right divide in the country as well as deregulate the French economy and deepen EU integration unlike his rival, Le Pen who wants France to exit the EU. </p> <p>French president Francois Hollande who has openly declared his support for Macron, told the media after casting his ballot on Sunday that his successor has a task of keeping the country united. </p> <p>“There are challenges to our country that we have been through, all together, that we have overcome, and my successor will have to – with their own proposals – continue the route in every sense of the word,” he said. </p> <p>“We have to continue, always, we must always have a road ahead, it is this road that makes us France. We will never go backwards, we will always move forwards, looking for the right road for progress. </p> <p>And gathering all the French people on this route is absolutely crucial. So today is an important day because it is about not taking the wrong road,” Hollande added.</p> <p>The campaign period had been filled with scandals and surprises.</p> <p>French voters now face a choice of voting for either the pro-European Union centrist Macron or the anti-EU, anti-immigration far right leader Le Pen to lead them for the next five years.</p> <p>Opinion polls meanwhile suggest the French will elect the ex-economy minister Emmanuel Macron to succeed Hollande who has been widely unpopular with the French.</p> <p>Results of the final round voting are expected later on Sunday.</p>
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