Sun Apr 23rd, 2017 at 08:58:25 AM EST
Polling stations are open since 8:00 this morning in mainland France. Polls are also open in overseas territories like Réunion island, New Caledonia and various French consulates throughout Asia, Oceania, Africa and Europe: pretty much all places west of the International Date Line up to the eastern shores of the Atlantic (including UK, Ireland, Portugal, Morocco and western Africa). For instance, there are 54 polling stations in the UK (42 in London - source).
For the Americas, Caribbean and Pacific islands east of the International Date Line, the polls were held yesterday, due to the time difference. At the French consulate in Washington DC, voter registration was up 30%. In Montréal, only a single polling place was open and the line stretched for more than 1 km; same in Toronto where the voters had to wait in line for more than 2 hours.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
As discussed in Frank's diary, polls are no longer published in the French media, but well, our Belgian and Swiss neighbors are ready.
This election is completely unlike the previous ones in that the candidates for the two main parties, Hamon for the PS and Fillon for the LR (formerly UMP) may well fall short of the second round tonight.
Speaking of tonight, there's a twist: until the last elections five years ago, most polling places were closing at 18:00 in most towns and 20:00 in major cities like Paris or Lyon (all times CEST - GMT+2); this allowed enough time to compute first estimates after 18:00 and announce the results, at least a good estimate, by 20:00.
This year, polling stations will close at 19:00 (20:00 for big cities), and given the relatively close race between the four front runners, the two candidates who'll get qualified for the second round may not be known until later tonight.