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French voters have started casting ballots for the presidential election in a tense first-round poll that is seen as a test for the spread of populism around the world. More than 60,000 polling stations opened on Sunday for voters who will choose between 11 candidates in the most unpredictable election in generations. Polling stations open in Paris. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu)
Opinion polls point to a tight race among the four top contenders vying to get into the May 7 presidential run-off that will decide who becomes France s next head of state. Polls suggest far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, were in the lead. However, conservative Francois Fillon, a former prime minister, appeared to be closing the gap, as was far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.
A voting machine displays the names of the 11 candidates. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu) France s 10% unemployment rate, its struggling economy and security issues topped concerns for the 47 million eligible voters. If Ms Le Pen or Mr Melenchon win a spot in the run-off, it will be seen as a victory for the rising wave of populism reflected by the votes for Donald Trump and Brexit.
People line up before casting their vote. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)
Mr Macron and Mr Fillon are committed to European unity and would reform employment rules.
Early voting began on Saturday in France s overseas territories.
Golf star Rory McIlroy was expected to marry his sweetheart Erica Stoll in an Irish castle on Saturday. Security was tight as helicopters and blacked out cars brought guests to the ceremony at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo, Republic of Ireland. A steady stream of locals who wandered up to the gates were kept at bay by guards. The four-time major winner’s representatives said his wedding was private and anti-drone experts were even brought in alongside boat-based security teams to patrol the waters of Lough Corrib.
Image: Security was tight outside Ashford Castle in Co Mayo
Celebrations include a fireworks display and musical entertainment from Stevie Wonder, who created a buzz in the city of Galway when he popped into a few shops on Friday, according to reports. The guest list is said to include One Direction singer Niall Horan, recent US Masters winner Sergio Garcia and Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Paul McGinley, racehorse owner JP McManus and possibly singer Ed Sheeran.
McIlroy, 27, is from Holywood in Co Down in Northern Ireland and met New Yorker Ms Stoll, 29, when she worked for the US PGA and was living in Florida.
The 350-acre Ashford Castle estate can be rented for around 84,000 a day at this time of year and has already been in use by the wedding team for several days.
Cyclists are being given to get their bikes security-marked and they will be able to get advice on cybercrime, as well as home and shed security at a pop-up shop in Chesterfield. The Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team will be hosting the event between 10am and 2pm, on Thursday, April 27, in the Vicar Lane Shopping Centre. They will be setting up in Unit 4, off Steeplegate – formerly Vision Express – and residents and shoppers will be invited to drop in and speak to officers to find out how they can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime. People can also bring their bicycles along for officers to security mark. The event has been set up as part of a series of pop-up crime prevention shops in Chesterfield town centre. PCSO Hayley Grundy of the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: Our last event in March was really popular, so we re delighted to offer residents and shoppers the chance to call in and see us again. We ll be offering advice on a wide range of crime prevention issues, from online cyber safety to home, vehicle or shed security.
You can also come along and speak about any concerns or issues with a local officer and cyclists can bring their bikes for security marking ready for the warmer, lighter months.
For more information, or to speak to a member of the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team call 101, or send them a message through the website www.derbyshire.police.uk.
People can also follow the team and their work on Twitter: @ChesterfieldSNT.