French voters to decide between Le Pen, Macron

  • IANS

    IANS | Paris

    May 7, 2017 | 10:28 AM
French elections

Ballots are counted on the second round of French elections (Photo: AFP)

French voters on Sunday will choose their next president after an unpredictable campaign that has divided the country, the media reported.

The second round contest pits centrist Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, against the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, 48, the BBC reported.

Citizens in some overseas territories and many French expats abroad have begun voting.

The polls open in metropolitan France at 8 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

Polling stations will remain open in some big cities until 8 p.m., with early estimates of the result due to be reported immediately after they close.

The two candidates, who topped a field of 11 presidential hopefuls in the first round election on April 23, have offered voters starkly different visions of France, reports the BBC.

Macron, a liberal centrist, is pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union (EU), while Le Pen campaigned on a France-first, anti-immigration programme.

She wants France to abandon the euro in the domestic economy, and hold a referendum on France's EU membership.

Macron is widely expected to win the vote, but analysts have said high abstention rates could damage his chances.