The French are called to the polls on Sunday April 24 to choose their next President. While some overseas territories and French expatriates began voting for the second round of the presidential election on Saturday, polling stations in mainland France open at 8am. They close at 7pm and in larger cities at 8pm. In Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, where the vote took place on Saturday, the turnout was 57% compared to 54.96% in the first round.
With the country’s three school zones during the school holidays, midday turnout will provide a first indication of the mobilization of the 48.7 million voters who have been called to the polls to decide a capital election. The French must choose between renewing outgoing President Emmanuel Macron, which, apart from living together, has never happened since the introduction of direct universal suffrage in 1962 and the election of General de Gaulle three years later. Or elect Marine Le Pen as a woman, which would be a first, and put the National Rally in power.
The campaign in mainland France officially ended at midnight on Friday. Public meetings, distribution of leaflets and digital propaganda by the two candidates are prohibited. No interviews or polls or estimates of results can be released before the results, Sunday at 8 p.m.
Two different visions
As in 2017, the French have to choose between two candidates with radically opposite programs, in a particularly tense international context with a war raging on the borders of the European Union (EU). Europe, the economy, purchasing power, relations with Russia, pensions, immigration: almost everything separates the two competitors, who, after five years of crises, seem to embody two Frenchmen more than ever, from the “yellow vests” to the Covid19 pandemic.
Emmanuel Macron, who won the first round (27.85%) with a lead of more than four points, reactivated the “Republican Front” against his opponent.. Beaten badly (33.9% of the vote) against the same opponent five years ago, the RN candidate went “everything but Macron” on a different front in her third attempt.
Voters will be called to the polls again on June 12 and 19 for the general elections in which the new president will attempt to secure the majority needed to govern.
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