World

PARIS – French voters are heading to the polls to choose France’s next president, reports local media on Sunday.

The presidential runoff between centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-wing Marine le Pen is the first to take place amid an ongoing state of emergency introduced in the country after 2015 terrorist attacks.

French authorities have introduced extra security measures for the poll. French voters are choosing their next president after an unpredictable campaign that has divided the country.

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

Polling stations will remain open in some big cities until 20:00 local time (18:00 GMT), 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 23 April, have offered voters starkly different visions of France.

Mr Macron, a liberal centrist, is pro-business and a strong supporter of the European Union (EU), while Ms 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.

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

The run-off will be keenly watched across Europe, ahead of elections in Germany and the UK and as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU.