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French voters casting their ballots in presidential election

French voters are casting their ballots in the opening round of a presidential race that could become a cliffhanger.

Emmanuel Macron has a fight on his hands from far-right challenger Marine Le Pen, who has been galvanised by a slick election campaign.

Forty-nine million people are eligible to decide which two of 12 candidates should take part in the run-off vote.

The president spent little time on the race, focusing instead on Europe’s reaction to the war in Ukraine.

Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo has struggled to be heard, while on the right Valérie Pécresse has failed to excite the Republicans.

Now, the main challenge to Mr Macron, 44, is coming from Ms Le Pen on the far right and Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the far left.

Some are even predicting the president could lose.

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