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PARIS/LONDON: Emmanuel Macron was re-elected on Sunday for a second term as President of France, with 58.2% of the vote, according to estimates by the polling institute Ipsos.

Turnout in the second round of the French presidential election stood at 63.2% as of 5 p.m. Sunday, down more than two percentage points from the same time in the second round of the presidential election in 2017, the Interior Ministry said.

Turnout was also two percentage points lower than it had been at 5:00 p.m. in the first round of voting on April 10, when President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen qualified for the second. round.

Based on official figures, pollsters estimated the abstention rate was on track at 28%, which, if confirmed, would be the highest in any presidential runoff since 1969. .

Analysts had warned that a low turnout could swing the final result either way, even though opinion polls have given Macron a comfortable lead against Le Pen over the past two weeks.

Centrist Macron has asked voters to trust him for a second five-year term despite a presidency troubled by protests, the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine. A victory for Macron makes him the first French president in 20 years to win a second term.

Sunday’s outcome in France, a nuclear-armed country with one of the largest economies in the world, could also have an impact on the war in Ukraine, as France has played a key role in diplomatic efforts and has firmly backed sanctions against Russia for its invasion of its neighbour.

Live updates below. (Every hour BST)

20:00 – Social media footage and reports from the ground indicate police charging and spraying tear gas at protesters in central Paris after the result was announced.

19:30 – Marine Le Pen has said she will continue the political fight against President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the June legislative elections, after conceding defeat to the incumbent in the French presidential election.

“The French have shown tonight the desire for a strong counterweight against Emmanuel Macron, for an opposition that will continue to defend and protect them,” she told her supporters after the first projections indicated that she had lost the election.

19:20 – European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said the result of the French presidential election, which saw the far right win its highest score ever, showed that “we have to keep working”.

19:15 – Cheers erupt at the base of the Eiffel Tower where supporters of President Emmanuel Macron celebrate his re-election on Sunday, moments after early projections showed he had won the vote by a comfortable margin.

Boos and whistles erupted during his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen’s campaign party.

19:05 – PRELIMINARY RESULT – Macron is reelected with 58% of the vote, Marine Le Pen with 42%.

18:45 – Polling stations across the country will be fully closed in 15 minutes…

16:00 – The Home Office released the latest voter turnout figures at 5 p.m. local time, and we’re down a few percent from the 2017 election at this point.

The figures confirmed a trend predicted by experts who said this year’s final vote between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen would see the highest level of abstention in more than 50 years.

15:15 – The first official exit polls are expected to start arriving around 8 p.m. Paris time, once the last stations have closed. But until then, French media are prohibited from quoting candidates or discussing polls, to ensure that no electoral influence occurs.

14:45 – There are nearly 49 million registered voters in France, but analysts warn that turnout today could well be lower than the last five warned that turnout could be lower than in the first round, with one in four people abstaining from voting.

14:15 – The first figures from the Overseas Territories indicate a massive victory for Le Pen in Guadeloupe (69.6% against 30.4% for Macron), in Martinique (60.9% against 39.1%) and in Guyana (60.7 % against 39.3%).

Challenger Marine Le Pen voted on Sunday. (Twitter/@MLP_official)

14:00 – Polling stations opened across France at 8 a.m. local and will close at 7 p.m., but some city center offices will be allowed to remain open for an additional hour.

Turnout at noon local time was just over 26%, which was lower than the same period in the 2017 election.

French President and LREM party presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron waves to supporters as he leaves after casting his vote for the second round. (AFP)

* With AP, AFP, Reuters

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