French voters heading to polls

French voters are heading to the polls to decide whether to give centrist Emmanuel Macron five more years as president or replace him with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, the BBC reports.

In order to win they both need to attract voters who backed other candidates in the first round.

Mr Macron rose to power on a whirlwind promise of change, but many complain they are yet to see it. His presidency has been buffeted by protests, the Covid pandemic and now the rising cost of living.

Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, has learned from the mistakes she made when she was resoundingly beaten by the same opponent in the second round in 2017. This is her third tilt at the presidency and if she fails it could be her last.

The great unknown in this election is how many voters will refuse to back either candidate, whether by casting a blank ballot or not turning out at all. Much of France is on holiday and turnout could be historically low.

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