When will we know French election results? Latest polls for Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen as vote underway

Emmanuel Macron is hoping to become the first sitting President of France to win a second term in office for 20 years

Voting for the second round of the French election 2022 is taking place today (Sunday 24 April), with France facing the choice of electing either Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen as its President for the next five years.

Mr Macron is hoping to become the first sitting President of France to win a second term in office since Jacques Chirac 20 years ago, while Ms Le Pen is aiming to become the country’s first female President.

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The presidential candidates have two very different political stances and have repeatedly clashed over France’s position in the EU, the cost of living crisis, immigration and religious symbols.

Voters will be able to choose from either Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen on Sunday (image: AFP/Getty Images)

So as France heads to the ballot box, what are the latest polls - and when will we know who has won?

Here’s what you need to know.

Who are the French election 2022 candidates?

France is choosing between two very different candidates: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

The pair faced off at the previous election in 2017, which Mr Macron won comfortably.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen go head to head in the polls on Sunday (image: AFP/Getty Images)

However, with a cost of living crisis currently sweeping France (as well as the rest of Europe) and other issues growing in importance for voters, such as pensions and immigration, 2022’s race looks tighter.

Emmanuel Macron, 44, is a pro-European centrist candidate, while Marine Le Pen, 53, is a Eurosceptic far-right nationalist.

The incumbent French leader has vowed to change the French economy to make it more independent while protecting social benefits at the same time.

Emmanuel Macron has stood on a pro-European centrist platform (image: AFP/Getty Images)

He is seeking to raise France’s minimum retirement age from 62 to 65 and also wants to keep pushing for a more powerful Europe.

Ms Le Pen says she will prioritise lowering the cost of living, and has also proposed a referendum on big reductions in immigration if she becomes President.

What do the latest French election polls say?

Campaigning for the second round of the French election officially ended on Friday evening (22 April).

Emmanuel Macron appears to be the favourite to win, with polls giving him a margin of between 6% to 15% over Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen has sought to soften her public image during the French election 2022 (image: AFP/Getty Images)

If the polls are correct, the race is much tighter than it was in 2017 when Mr Macron won with 66% of the vote to Ms Le Pen’s 34% - although they are wider than in the first round when Mr Macron took 27.84% of votes compared to 23.15% for Ms Le Pen.

However, while Macron appears to be ahead, there is a big question over how many voters cast a blank vote (i.e. spoil their ballot) or stay at home, given neither were the preferred choice for around 50% of the electorate who voted in the first round.

Should fewer voters than expected turn up, Ms Le Pen could stand a chance of victory.

Marine Le Pen is a Eurosceptic who wants to take France out of the EU (image: Getty Images)

When will France vote?

French voters have been able to head to the ballot box from 8am (7am UK time) today (24 April).

Voting runs until 6pm or 7pm (local time) in more rural towns and villages, and 8pm in major cities.

As with the UK system, all voting is paper based.

But unlike the party-based system we have, the only things voters see are two ballot papers carrying a name each - in this case, either Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

The voter places one of these names in an envelope, which is then deposited in a transparent ballot box.

This system means that the President of France is directly elected by the public.

When will we know French election result?

The first indication we will have of who will be the President of France for five years will be an exit poll that will be revealed at around 7pm UK time on Sunday evening.

However, we will have to wait until at least Monday (25 April) for the result to be officially confirmed - although the country’s Constitutional Council has until Thursday (28 April) to announce the result if it’s a tight race.

The winner will then be formally inaugurated for a five year term in office on 13 May.

Additional reporting by the PA news agency