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France votes in tight presidential race and state of emergency

Staff Writer | April 23, 2017
Voters on Sunday are casting their ballots in the first election in France’s modern history to take place under a state of emergency.
France votes
French elections   50,000 policemen and 7,000 soldiers
Security has been tightened across the country with many polling stations guarded by armed police and soldiers, France 24 reports.

Polls opened at 8am local time across the country in the first round of a high-stakes presidential election that is being closely watched by the international community.

Around 46.87 million voters are registered to vote in 66,546 polling stations, several of them protected – for the first time in recent memory - by armed police and soldiers.

The tightened security measures follow an attack on the world famous Champs-Élysées Thursday night, when a gunman killed a policeman and wounded three others, including two policemen. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Around 50,000 policemen and 7,000 soldiers have been deployed to protect the nation’s voting sites, both Sunday and in the May 7 second round.