France votes in presidential election

| Updated: Apr 23, 2017 17:58 IST

Paris [France], Apr 23 (ANI): Voting is presently underway in France for the first phase of the presidential election that comes amidst heightened security concerns for the country following a string of deadly terror attacks. The main presidential candidates had to cancel their campaign events on Friday - the last day of campaigning - following the terror attack in Paris on Thursday that killed a policeman - and instead made televised statements in which they competed to talk tough on security and vowed a crackdown on the ISIS, which claimed the attack, reports the CNN. While there are 11 names on the ballot, only four leading contenders - far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon, centrist newcomer Emmanuel Macron and far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon - are seen as having a realistic prospect of making it through to the second round of voting. The two top rankers in Sunday's vote will face off on May 7 for the second and final round of voting Polls opened at 8 a.m. local time Sunday across the country, with initial results expected in the evening. Security has been stepped up ahead of the vote. There are speculations the vote will be impacted by the recent terror. 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. Immigration and the economy are the other important issues the candidates vowed to improve as many voters think current immigration policies have exacerbated France's unemployment problems and contributed to the deadly terror attacks of the past couple of years. (ANI)