Analysts at HSBC explain that on 23 April, French voters will go to the polls for the first round of what has already been a highly unpredictable presidential race and the second round will follow on 7 May.  

Key Quotes

“In a typical first round, media sources usually announce their own estimate of the result, based on exit polls at approximately 8pm local time (neither polls nor results can be released before 8pm according to the electoral law). We would expect a similar timeline on 23 April, although this could be affected by the unusually tight and diverse race. Plausible scenarios can be created where any of the leading four candidates qualify for the second round.  The official results may not be announced until a few days later -- the deadline for the Constitutional court to do this is not until 8pm on Wednesday 26 April.”  

“The first set of preliminary data on the day will come from the Interior Ministry at around 12pm, when it will release its first turnout estimate.  This will be updated at approximately 5pm. A low turnout could favour the National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen.”

“French electoral law prohibits any release of exit poll data before 8pm local time, but this only applies to the French media. It is possible that some international news websites outside of France might release flash estimates earlier. In 2012, some Belgian and Swiss websites stated before 3pm that Hollande would win the second round (Le Monde, 7 May 2012).”

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