Polling is underway for the first round of the country's presidential election, where up to 48 million eligible voters will be choosing between 12 candidates.

Paris resident Francoise Vaysse believes that if President Emmanuel Macron is re-elected the situation will remain difficult.
Paris resident Francoise Vaysse believes that if President Emmanuel Macron is re-elected the situation will remain difficult. (AP)

Some voters in Paris have said they hoped that France's next president would reunite the country, as millions of voters cast their ballots in the first round of the presidential election.

Up to 48 million eligible French voters will be choosing between 12 candidates.

For one voter, the list of candidates was exhausting. "There are certainly too many candidates," said Jean-Pierre Rouchy.

President Emmanuel Macron is seeking a second five-year term with a strong challenge from the far-right and nationwide voter apathy.

Another Paris resident Francoise Vaysse believes that if Macron is re-elected the situation will remain difficult.

"There are great opportunities that were missed. Covid, Ukraine and even the GIEC (French acronym for IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) had to bring about new proposals, new ideas and new lines of actions. But we are now rephrasing old statements," she said.

READ MORE: Voting underway in French presidential election as Macron seeks second term

Worrying popularity of extreme movements

Aside from Macron, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon are among prominent contenders vying to take the presidential Elysee.

For Cecile Derville the high popularity of extreme movements is worrying, but she hopes that the new President will succeed in reuniting French citizens.

Adam Belmekki shares the hope that the presidential election would bring citizens closer together.

"What France needs right now is to live together and find common values which we cherish," he said.

Young voters like Suzanne are excited about casting their vote but have also had an array of choices that left them slightly indecisive.

“I’m 21 and it’s my first election so it’s exciting obviously, it’s the first big choice politically. It was quite complicated for me to decide actually because I was leaning toward Melenchon - but then the war started, which complicated things,” Suzanne told Anadolu Agency.

Polls close at 7pm, and at 8pm in some larger cities. Unless someone gets more than half of the nationwide vote, there will be a second and decisive round on Sunday, April 24. 

READ MORE: The 2022 elections are a monument to France’s deteriorated democracy

Source: AP