French overseas territories on Saturday starting voting in the first round of polls for the presidential elections, a day earlier than the mainland. The top two candidates out of 11 from the Sunday’s election will then participate in the run-off scheduled for May 7.
The overseas territories, which include French Polynesia, French Guiana, Martinique among others, vote a day early so that they are not influenced by the mainland results. Their results will be sealed until Sunday evening, after mainland France has finished voting, Reuters reported.
Political campaigning was banned from Saturday across the country ahead of the polls. France remained on edge on Saturday after an attack in Central Paris on Thursday that killed a French police officer. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State. Over 50,000 police and security officers have been deployed for election duty, reported AFP.
Opinion polls showed that far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, and independent centrist and the former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron were leading, reported AP. Conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillion, who has been embroiled in controversy for allegedly embezzling funds, was not far behind either.
The presidential election is being closely watched as it might elected a far right leader. Their polls come after Britain’s decision quit the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States last year. France, the fifth largest economy in the world, is a core member of the EU, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an important member of the North Atlantic alliance.