Marine Le Pen is leading in the election with 24.10% when 50% of votes have been counted

French far-right presidential candidate and National Front leader Marine Le Pen is leading in the election with 24.10 percent of votes, according to preliminary data as over 50 percent of votes have been counted, Sputnik News reported. 

Independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has gained 22.44 percent as of the data up to date.

The Republicans’ candidate Francois Fillon has already received 19.57 percent of French citizens’ votes in his favor, according to the preliminary data.

Macron and Le Pen apparently make it into the second round of the presidential vote.

Exit polls conducted by a Belgian broadcaster have showed earlier in the day that Le Pen and Macron run neck-and-neck with the latest showing that the independent candidate may get some 26 percent of votes, while 23 percent of French citizens support the National Front leader.

At 7 p.m. local time (17:00 GMT) the voting ended as the polling stations across France closed. The French residents chose from 11 candidates in the first round, but only two of them will make it to the second round on May 7, which will be held if nobody gets support of more than half of voters.

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Online: Sputnik News