French election: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen cast votes in battle for presidency

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
French election: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen cast votes in battle for presidency
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Emmanuel Macron posed for photographs with supporters as he headed to a polling station to cast his vote in the French presidential election on Sunday.

The president was accompanied by his wife Brigitte Macron as he cast his vote in Le Touquet, in northern France, where the couple have a holiday home.

Millions of French citizens are voting in the race between the centrist incumbent and far-right politician Marine Le Pen, who cast her vote earlier in the morning in Henin-Beaumont, also in the north.

Mr Macron holds a narrow lead over the National Rally leader, according to polling.

However, some commentators say that public apathy could mean the contest is closer than predicted.

Mr Macron warned supporters at a final rally on Friday night to turn out for him so France can avoid a Brexit-stye “hangover”.

Mr Macron kisses a supporter as he arrives to vote (REUTERS)
Mr Macron kisses a supporter as he arrives to vote (REUTERS)

Ms Le Pen’s campaign has been dogged by accusations of racism and ties to the Kremlin, which were exacerbated as fresh allegations emerged that her party was paying £10million to a Russian military contractor under US sanctions as settlement of a loan.

Polls predicted a narrow lead for Mr Macron when campaigning ended on Friday, with the incumbent ahead of Le Pen by 56.6 per cent to 43.5 per cent.

If Mr Macron triumphs he will become the first French president in 20 years to win a second term in office.

Far-right contender Marine Le Pen casts her vote in Henin-Beaumont (AP)
Far-right contender Marine Le Pen casts her vote in Henin-Beaumont (AP)

Polling stations opened at 8am local time on Sunday and close at 7pm in most places, apart from big cities that have chosen to keep stations open until 8pm.

Polls forecast a possibly record-high number of people who will either cast a blank vote or not vote at all.

On the campaign trail, Mr Macron condemned Ms Le Pen’s endorsement of “extreme right” policies including her proposal to outlaw Muslims from wearing headscarves in public.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are seen on campaign posters (AFP via Getty Images)
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are seen on campaign posters (AFP via Getty Images)

Following an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2017, Ms Le Pen has sought to soften her image and focused her campaign on the cost of living crisis. She has also abandoned more hardline policies which have proved divisive, including leaving the eurozone.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting