French presidential election begins
The decisive final round of the French presidential elections will begin as early as Saturday (CEST) in some overseas territories. The two candidates for the top office are incumbent liberal President Emmanuel Macron, who is vying for a second term, and his right-wing rival Marine Le Pen. In mainland France, the elections will take place on Sunday.
Polling stations will open at noon (CET), or 8 am local time, on the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, off the eastern coast of Canada. The region will be followed by French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Polynesia. 97 per cent of the votes cast in the first round two weeks ago have been processed, and the non-final results suggest that Macron won 27.6 percent of the votes, while Le Pen collected 23.41 per cent, so the two politicians advanced to the second round to be held on 24 April.
Opinion polls show that Macron has been slowly increasing his advantage since the first round.
The French president remains in office for a period of five years. The head of state enjoys wider powers than the prime minister appointed by him or her, and has a decisive influence on the fate of the country.
A total of 48.7 million voters have been registered for the elections.