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Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

France begins voting in second round of presidential election

France begins voting in second round of presidential election

A crowd of Macron supporters roared with delight at the news, jubilantly waving red, white and blue tricolor flags at a victory party outside the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Pro-business independent Emmanuel Macron was the pollsters' favourite to become next president in the battle against far-right populist Marine Le Pen.

Immigration: Candidates like Marine Le Pen, are banking high on the anti-immigrant sentiments which swept across Britain and the United States previous year.

En Marche compared the hack to the leak of Democratic Party emails in last year's U.S. presidential election that was blamed on Russian hackers.

"I don't like the extreme", one man said after voting Saturday. Mr Macron opposes any rapprochement with Russian Federation, while Ms Le Pen met Vladimir Putin in Moscow recently and has previously stated her approval of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Macron would be France's youngest-ever leader and was a virtual unknown three years ago when he was named economy minister, the launchpad for his sensational presidential bid.

Whoever wins will spell a new chapter in French politics.

From depressed northern France to the streets of Paris, some voters were just looking forward to the end of the vitriolic campaign.

Candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen cast their votes in Sunday's ballot.

Trump says he "never spoke" to Treasury secretary about releasing tax returns
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Ms Le Pen promises quite the opposite. She had placed third in the 2012 presidential vote, underscoring a growing acceptance for her fierce anti-immigration, France-first nationalism among disgruntled voters. "We are in Europe and in the world", Macron said during Wednesday's debate.

Le Pen said she got 11 million votes.

Ms Le Pen cast her ballot about 60 miles away in Henin-Beaumont, a small town controlled by her National Front party. Le Pen's closed borders faced off against Macron's open ones; his commitment to free trade ran against her proposals to protect the French from global economic competition and immigration. A "Frexit" would be far more devastating than Britain's departure, since France is the second-biggest economy to use the euro.

One of his most unsafe opponents, conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, was hobbled by allegations that his family benefited from cushy taxpayer-funded jobs for years. She wants a Europe of nations to replace the EU.

"She's the best person to resolve the problems of France", one woman said outside the consulate.

More than 50,000 police officers will be on duty during voting. Macron's campaign says fake documents have been added to the dump. The French are riven by anxieties about terrorism and chronic unemployment, anxious about the cultural, economic and religious impact of immigration and fear France's ability to compete against giants like China and Google.

His proposed remedies include both economic reforms and his own infectious, upbeat optimism that France need not resign itself to continuing economic and social decline, especially as part of an European Union competing together against other powers.

The campaign has been marked by its unpredictability, and in a final twist on Friday evening, soon before campaigning officially ended, Mr Macron's En Marche! political movement said it had been the victim of a "massive" hack, with a trove of documents released online.

The Macron team asked the campaign oversight commission to bring in cybersecurity agency ANSSI to study the hack, according to a government official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to discuss the details publicly.

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