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Le Pen, Macron advance to runoff in France's presidential election

By Brooks Hays
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Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen addresses supporters at her party headquarters in Henin Beaumont, France, on Sunday. Le Pen was elected in the first round of votes along with centrist Emmanuel Macron. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c37e337c4e677736493c290e26329d62/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen addresses supporters at her party headquarters in Henin Beaumont, France, on Sunday. Le Pen was elected in the first round of votes along with centrist Emmanuel Macron. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

April 23 (UPI) -- There were 11 candidates in France's presidential election, but now there are only two. French voters sent Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen into the second round on Sunday.

The May 7 runoff will pit the centrist independent against the far-right populist.

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Exit polls showed Macron, former economy minister, earned the most votes of the presidential candidates, with Le Pen coming in second. Sunday night's results capped a tense day at the polls.

Many of the 67,000 polling stations, which opened early on Sunday, featured a heightened security presence. Last week, a French terrorist with ties to the Islamic State shot and killed a police officer in Paris.

Some pundits predicted a depressed voter turnout as a result of anxiety about terrorism and a dissatisfaction with the candidates. By the end of the day, estimated turnout was at 77 percent, 3 points lower than 2012.

Both the Le Pen and Macron entered Election Day as the front-runners. However, the race had tightened in recent weeks as former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, a conservative, and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon generated enthusiasm among dissatisfied French voters.

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