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Preparations complete as France votes in presidential election


France

Preparations complete as France votes in presidential election

The preparations are complete for one of the most widely anticipated French presidential elections in modern times.

After a campaign dominated in its final stage by terrorism after a policeman was shot dead in Paris, the stage is set for a day of voting to determine the country’s future direction – and perhaps that of Europe.

After decades where presidents have come from mainstream right and left, this time is far less certain.

The field is such that up to five candidates are hoping realistically to make it through to the final run-off in a fortnight’s time.

Pro-EU, anti-EU, far right to far left, newcomers, old hands, survivors of the cull of the mainstream parties’ primaries.

They are joined by several more hopefuls looking to make their mark. All have benefitted from election rules that have guaranteed them airtime; all 11 took part in a joint TV appearance last week that quickly became forgotten as news of the atrocity on the Champs Elysees in Paris filtered through.

Since the policeman’s murder at the hands of a suspected Islamist extremist, security measures for the election have been reinforced.

The French government is mobilising an additional 7,000 soldiers to patrol alongside the more than 50,000 police and gendarmes already allocated to protect the country’s 70,000 polling stations.

France

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