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Voting begins in final round of French presidential election

Staff Writer | May 7, 2017
Voting stations opened across mainland France at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) under the watch of 50,000 security forces guarding against extremist attacks.
French presidential election
France   The fate of the European Union
Polling agency projections and initial official results are expected as soon as the final stations close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT.)

The fate of the European Union may hang in the balance as France's 47 million voters decide whether to risk handing the presidency to Le Pen, who dreams of quitting the bloc and its common currency, or to play it safer with Macron, an unabashed pro-European who wants to strengthen the EU.

Either candidate would lead France into uncharted territory, since neither comes from the mainstream parties that dominate parliament and have run the country for decades.

The winner will have to try to build a parliamentary majority in elections next month to make major changes.

Voting began Saturday in overseas territories, from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, an archipelago near Newfoundland, to French Guiana and the French West Indies and beyond.

French citizens also turned out in droves to vote in the Canadian province of Quebec.