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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
In pictures: France votes for president

Nicolas Sarkozy is cheered by supporters after emerging top in the first round

Centre-right leader Nicolas Sarkozy fulfilled predictions, emerging as top candidate for the second round on 6 May.

Socialist supporters of Segolene Royal

Socialist fans of Segolene Royal were relieved at her second-place result after their party's humiliation in 2002.

Voters queue at a polling station in Marignane, southern France

The French presidential election was billed as one of the least predictable in the nation's recent history.

Segolene Royal kisses a man prior to voting in Melle, central France

Segolene Royal - who hopes to become France's first woman president - will vie with Mr Sarkozy in the run-off.

Francois Bayrou at a polling station in Pau, south-western France

Centrist Francois Bayrou came a strong third - and it is not clear who his supporters will back in the run-off.

Jean-Marie Le Pen votes in Saint-Cloud, near Paris

Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen lost the 2002 run-off to Jacques Chirac - but this time scored just 11%.

President Jacques Chirac waives from a car after voting in Sarran, central France

Twelve candidates were vying to succeed President Chirac, who is stepping down after 12 years in office.

French voters cast their ballots in Paris

Turnout soared to about 84% - just short of a record set in 1962 and far higher than in 2002.

A monk of Mont des Cats' abbey leaves a polling stating after casting his ballot in Godewaersvelde, northern France

Some 44.5m registered voters were eligible to take part in the election, seen as a turning-point for France.

A dog waits outside a polling station in Pau

Polling day for many involved a long wait on a hot April day.




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