French presidential election: Citizens in London blast 'three hour wait' at embassy

Jonathan Mitchell

French citizens living in London are being forced to wait hours to vote in today’s presidential election, with people blasting organisers for “discouraging” voters.

Voters take to the polls today for the first round of the country’s presidential election, with residents in London visiting the French Embassy in South Kensington to cast their vote.

But numerous people have taken to social media to complain of “bad organisation” at the polling station, with some claiming the wait is as long as three hours.

Alexandra Marquez, 24, who lives in Clapham, said: “I got to the French Embassy at 11am and I’ve been asked to join the end of the queue three blocks away.

Some people said they were told the queue was three hours long (Alexandra Marquez)

“I've been told the waiting time was three hours. I'm glad to see that there is such a big turn up for these elections, but it’s bad organisation.

“Why isn't there more places open we can go to vote to? It makes it really discouraging and annoying.”

Nine candidates will be eliminated in today’s vote in the highly-charged election, which some pollsters and political commentators calling the contest wide-open.

François Fillon, Benoît Hamon, Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon are considered the frontrunners for the presidency, with candidates from across the political spectrum.

Bruno Girin posted on Twitter: “Queue for voting in French election in London goes round the block, I should have brought a picnic.”

Danny West‏ said: “Accompanying my other half to Wembley to vote later, preparing for huge waits. Why so few polling stations for 500k+ French in London?”

About 50,000 police officers and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed at polling stations in France after a police officer was shot and killed on Paris’ Champs Elysees on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the French Embassy said: "Forty-two polling stations were opened in two different locations in London for 93,500 voters. The average waiting time is 1 to 2 hours. Some had to wait longer than others but we also have been getting positive feedback throughout the day from happy voters."

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