Turnout soars in French presidential election

22nd April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 22, 2007 (AFP) - Three hours before polling closed, three-quarters of French voters had cast first-round ballots in presidential elections, a giant leap in turnout compared to the 2002 vote, officials said.

PARIS, April 22, 2007 (AFP) - Three hours before polling closed, three-quarters of French voters had cast first-round ballots in presidential elections, a giant leap in turnout compared to the 2002 vote, officials said.

Turnout appeared on course to set a record, according to polling firms IPSOS and IFOP, who predicted it would reach 87 percent the close of polls at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).

By 1500 GMT, the interior ministry put turnout at 74 percent, already exceeding the total participation five years ago.

In 2002, more than half the electorate either abstained or voted for the extreme left and right candidates, allowing veteran far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen to qualify for the second round against Jacques Chirac.

Around 44.5 million registered voters -- an increase of 3.4 million on 2002 -- were eligible Sunday to choose a successor to Chirac, 74, who steps down next month after leading the country for 12 years.

The highest turnout in a French presidential election, at 84.6 percent, was in 1965 for the election of Charles de Gaulle -- the first time the country elected a head of state by universal suffrage.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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