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

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

France

The two remaining candidates in the French presidential race on Sunday morning cast their ballots a few hours after polls opened.

Far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen was the first of the two candidates to vote in her home town of Henin-Beaumont.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

“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.

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.

The campaign period had been filled with scandals and surprises.

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.

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.

Results of the final round voting are expected later on Sunday.

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