Wednesday 18 October 2017

French turn out by the tens of thousands in London to vote for their new president

Either Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen will be the country’s leader.

By Catherine Wyatt

Tens of thousands of French people living in Britain have turned out to vote for the next president.

By the end of the day, either centrist Emmanuel Macron or former National Front leader Marine Le Pen will be confirmed as France’s new leader.

Some two million French people live abroad, with an estimated 350,000 in the UK, according to the French embassy.

Of the 250,000 said to be living in London, almost 100,000 are registered voters.

Many of them queued round the block on Sunday morning to make their voice heard in the unprecedented race in which neither of the two candidates belong to France’s traditional Republican or Socialist parties.

But some voiced concern about the turnout after queues seemed shorter than this time two weeks ago when they voted in the first round.

Low turnout overall is expected to favour Le Pen, whose support is seen as more solid than Macron’s, with London expected to vote heavily in favour of the centrist.

Voters were encouraged to turn out at Wembley by the French Embassy, which had croissants delivered to the queue and given out for free.

But with Macron around 20 points clear of Le Pen in most opinion polls, some voters might stay at home thinking it is a done deal.

Many far-left supporters have also said they will abstain from voting or ruin their ballot paper in protest against the two candidates.

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As soon as polls close at 7pm, exit results will be announced.

They should give a fairly accurate idea of who has won – two weeks ago they correctly predicted Le Pen and Macron would get to the second round.

Press Association

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