French Afternoon Election Turnout Down 2 Percentage Points From 2017

Turnout figures for the second round of France's presidential election on Sunday showed a 63.23% participation rate by 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), the interior ministry said, below the 65.30% recorded at the same time in the 2017 election.

The figures confirmed a trend forecast by pollsters who said this year's final vote between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen would see the highest abstention level in over 50 years.

France's main polling institutes Ipsos and Ifop on Sunday said they saw the likely abstention rate at the end of the day at 28%.

In 2017, around 25% of voters abstained in what was the lowest turnout ever recorded in a French presidential election final since 1969.

Voting started at 8 a.m. and will end at 8 p.m., when first projections of results are expected.

Analysts say a low turnout adds to uncertainty surrounding the final result.