French presidential election kicks off

Paris, April 22: The first round of the 2012 French presidential election kicked off in France Sunday.

With polling stations opening at 8 a.m., some 44.3 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots for one of the ten candidates, reported Xinhua.

A latest IFOP survey released Friday showed that incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy was neck-and-neck with his Socialist arch-rival Francois Hollande, with both projected to garner 27 percent of the vote.

Marine Le Pen, a candidate from the National Front, trailed behind with 16 percent of the vote, according to the survey.

The 85,000 polling stations across the country are set to close at 8 p.m. in big cities and at 6 p.m. in other places.

According to French law, no exit poll or release of early results of the first round of the presidential election is allowed before all polling stations are closed.

IANS