France awaits results in presidential contest

The ritual declaration “a voté” (meaning “has voted”) has been uttered many millions of times today by polling officials across France, as the country sets about choosing its next head of state.

All eyes this evening will be on the incumbent Emmanuel Macron and his main challenger Marine Le Pen – and in probable third place, the far-left-winger Mélenchon.

In Paris, finding Le Pen voters is not so easy. She’s never done well in the capital. But Paris is not France, and one theme that’s emerged in this campaign is a growing political divergence between the metropolis and the provinces.

Now in her third race for the presidency, Le Pen has never been as well placed in the polls. But if, as expected, she gets through to the second round again against Macron, then a whole new campaign opens up from this evening. And there’ll be dire warnings aplenty of the political earthquake, were she actually to be elected on April 24.

Macron is vying to be the first French president to be reelected in 20 years. Turnout has been down four per cent compared to 2017. Twelve candidates – four women and eight men – are contesting the election. (BBC)

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