- Title: Polls open in primary to pick French right's candidate for president
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOTERS AT REGISTRATION DESK TO PICK UP BALLOT PAPERS BOX IN WHICH VOTERS PUT TWO EURO FEE WITH LOGO FOR PRIMARY, LABELLED (French): "OPEN PRIMARY FOR THE RIGHT AND THE CENTRE" VOTERS VOTERS AT REGISTRATION DESK VOTER WALKING INTO BOOTH VOTERS VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF TOWN HALL OF PARIS'S SEVENTH DISTRICT VOTER PICKING UP BALLOT PAPERS VOTER IN VOTING BOOTH VOTER VOTING CAST BALLOT PAPERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER, PIERRE, SAYING: "I'm on the centre-left and I considered that at the moment the right is more likely to win the presidential election and the most moderate candidate suited me." VOTER PICKING UP BALLOT PAPERS VARIOUS OF BALLOT PAPERS WITH NAMES OF CANDIDATES VOTER VOTING (SOUNDBITE) (French) VOTER, EMELINE, SAYING: "I am not at all on the right, I'm very much on the left and I really want to block (former French President Nicolas) Sarkozy and I know that the left won't get to the second round (of the presidential election) so I just want to stop Sarkozy and (French far right National Front leader) Marine Le Pen." VOTERS IN POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 09:44
- Keywords: France election president primary right conservative Sarkozy Juppe Fillon
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001598ZK1Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Voters hit the polls across France on Sunday (November 20) to pick the conservatives' presidential candidate in the first round of a primary race, with the winner standing a good chance of being elected French president next spring.
With the French left in disarray under the deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande, opinion polls suggest that the centre-right presidential nominee looks likely to win the presidency against a resurgent far-right headed by anti-immigration leader Marine Le Pen.
Former prime minister Alain Juppe, a moderate conservative, had appeared firmly on track to win, but over the past week the contest has been transformed into a nail-biting three-horse race between him, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and another former premier, Francois Fillon.
Much will depend on turnout at the 10,228 polling stations. It is the first centre-right primary in which anyone who pays 2 euros and signs a paper of allegiance to the party's values can vote.
Some voters at the town hall in Paris' seventh district who spoke to Reuters Television on Sunday said they were on the left but were participating in the conservative vote to choose their preferred candidate.
"I am not at all on the right, I'm very much on the left and I really want to block Sarkozy and I know that the left won't get to the second round (of the presidential election) so I just want to stop Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen," voter Emeline said.
After Britain's shock "Brexit" vote and Donald Trump's surprise U.S. election win, the French presidential vote is shaping up to be another test of strength between weakened mainstream parties and rising populist forces.
The primary's second round between the two top-placed candidates will take place on November 27.
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