Macron, Le Pen cast votes in French presidential runoff

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 8, 2017

Pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second-round run-off of France's presidential election on Sunday.

Figures from the Interior Ministry said 28.23 per cent of voters had turned out by midday, the lowest at that point since the 2002 presidential poll, when it was 26.19 per cent. It's unclear whether the document dump will dent the large polling lead Mr Macron held over Ms Le Pen going into the vote.

USA intelligence agencies believe state-backed Russian operatives were behind a massive hacking attack on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign ahead of America's presidential election last November.

Trump has expressed support for Le Pen, telling the Associated Press, "She's the strongest on borders". Le Pen cast her vote in the heartland of Henin-Beaumont, also in the country's north, with her partner, Louis Aliot.

Pollsters see likely abstentions as highest among left-wing voters who feel disenfranchised by Sunday's choice.

"We increased our equity exposure and added some French stocks after the first round".

After a campaign in which favourites dropped out of the race one after the other, Le Pen is nevertheless closer to elected power than the far right has been in France since World War Two.

Even if opinion polls prove accurate and France elects its youngest president ever rather than its first female leader, Macron himself has said himself he expects no honeymoon period.

The results should give a fairly accurate idea of who has won the election - two weeks ago they accurately predicted that Le Pen and Macron would get to the second round.

Sunday's election will in any case far from spell the end of the battle between mainstream and more radical policies in France, with parliamentary elections next month equally crucial.

Once the presidential ballot is over, attention will immediately switch to whether the victor will be able to count on a parliamentary majority.

Both candidates traded insults in a bad-tempered, head-to-head debate on French television on Wednesday.

The French election watchdog is investigating but also responding to claims from Marine Le Pen's National Front that ballot papers had been tampered with to try and aid her opponent.

Whoever wins will spell a new chapter in French politics after the major left-wing and right-wing parties - the Socialist Party and The Republicans - that have ruled France for decades both suffered humiliating defeats in the election's first round.

Around 14.5 gigabytes of emails, personal and business documents were posted to the text-sharing site Pastebin just hours before the campaign period came to a close Friday night.

More than 50,000 police and army officers are on duty with the country still in a state of emergency.

Hollande presided over the country during the 2015 Paris attacks, the deadliest terror attack on French soil in its modern history, in which 130 people were killed.

The campaign has been marked by its unpredictability, and in a final twist on Friday evening, soon before campaigning officially ended, Mr Macron's En Marche! political movement said it had been the victim of a "massive" hack, with a trove of documents released online.

There appeared to be a security alert at the Louvre in Paris in the early afternoon, as police cleared journalists from an area outside the art museum's famous glass pyramid.

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