Voter turnout was low in the second round of France’s presidential election on Sunday pitting incumbent Emmanuel Macron against far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.
Figures released by the country’s interior ministry show that as of 5 p.m. local time just 63.2 percent of voters had cast a ballot.
The participation figure is over six percentage points lower than the 69.4 percent registered at this point during the last election in 2017, which Macron ultimately won in the second round.
It is also lower than the 65 percent participation figure recorded at this time during the first round of voting on April 10.
According to polling firm Ipsos, overall abstention for the second round is expected at around 28 percent, the highest for the presidential election’s second round since 1969.
The polls close at 8 p.m., which is when the first projections of final results are expected.
In a repeat of the 2017 elections, Macron is once again facing off against Le Pen. Both emerged as the top two candidates in the first round of voting on April 10.
No sitting French president has been reelected since Jacques Chirac in 2002, but according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, Macron could receive 55 percent of the second-round vote, 10 points clear of Le Pen.
The results of today’s election may depend on voter turnout: earlier this month 26 percent of eligible voters didn’t turn out in the first round of voting. The perception of Macron as the inevitable winner may hamper turnout, and it doesn’t help that the elections are coinciding with school holidays in various parts of the country.
This story has been updated.
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