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Macron Seen as Winner in French Vote

Emmanuel Macron waves to photographers outside a polling station after casting his vote in Le Touquet, northern France, on May 7.Emmanuel Macron waves to photographers outside a polling station after casting his vote in Le Touquet, northern France, on May 7.

France went to the polls Sunday to choose between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen for president, in a watershed election both for the divided country and the future of Europe.

Observers of the French political landscape say Macron is set to win the race with a comfortable margin and point out that the centrist candidate enjoys vast support from voters abroad and in French territories.

This is the first time neither of the country’s traditional parties has a candidate in the final round of the presidential election under the modern French republic, founded in 1958.

Macron would be France’s youngest-ever president and was a virtual unknown before his two-year stint as economy minister, the launchpad for his presidential bid. He left the Socialist government in August and formed his movement that he says is neither of the left nor the right and which has attracted 250,000 members. Macron campaigned on pledges to ease labor laws, boost education in deprived areas and extend new protections to the self-employed.

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