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France prepares for presidential ballot

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Sat April 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Voters in overseas territories go to the polls in France' presidential election
  • Voting across mainland France takes place on Sunday
  • No campaigning is allowed on the day before the election and no polls can be published
  • Nicolas Sarkozy faces challengers including Francois Hollande and Jean-Luc Melenchon

Paris (CNN) -- France prepared Saturday to vote in presidential elections that see incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy pitted against challengers including Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.

Voting started Saturday in France's overseas territories, including Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique and French Polynesia.

Voters in mainland France will go to the polls Sunday.

Under French law, no political campaigning of any kind is allowed on the day before the election and no opinion polls can be published.

Economic misery in France continues

Ten candidates are on the ballot in the first round of voting.

As well as Sarkozy and Hollande, they include Jean-Luc Melenchon on the extreme left, Marine Le Pen on the extreme right, Francois Bayrou, a centrist, and Eva Joly, for the Greens.

If no candidate wins an absolute majority, a runoff election between the two with the most votes will take place on May 6.

The economy and jobs have been key election issues, as France struggles to overcome low growth and a 10% unemployment rate.

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