France goes to presidential poll amid high security

Indo Asian News Service

Paris, April 23 (IANS) Voting began on Sunday across France in the first round of the presidential poll, amid high security following a deadly attack in Paris three days ago.

Socio-liberal Emmanuel Macron, right-wing Marine Le Pen, conservative Francois Fillon and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon are the leading candidates alongside eight others vying to qualify for the second round on May 7, Efe news reported.

Polling stations in France opened at 8 a.m., although some overseas territories began the voting on Saturday, reports the BBC.

Voting ends at 8 p.m., and exit polls are expected shortly afterwards.

About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers were deployed across the country to secure polling.

President Francois Hollande is not seeking a second term, and is the first French President in modern history to do so.

Extra security measures were made after Karim Cheurfi, a convicted criminal, on Thursday shot a police officer in the head on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Cheurfi was killed by security forces and a note defending the so-called Islamic State group was found near his body.

France, the world's sixth-largest economy and a key player in Europe, has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

--IANS

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