Voters in France have begun the process of deciding who could face far-right Marine Le Pen in next year’s presidential elections. Seven contenders from the country’s centre-right Les Republicains party will be whittled down to two names. The winner in the next round on 27 November will be the main conservative candidate who will try to become head of state on 23 April, 2017. The Les Republicains party’s main rival for the presidency is expected to be Ms Le Pen, the leader of the Front National, who is also riding high in the polls.
I am not Hillary Clinton. France is not America.
Alain Juppe, Republican candidate
The candidates for today’s election include former prime ministers Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon - and former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Experts say analysis of the polls shows Mr Juppe has the best chance of beating Ms Le Pen if he wins the nomination, but if he is eliminated before then, other less popular conservative politicians may struggle to beat the Front National leader. Traditional rivals on the left have been weakened by the troubled presidency of incumbent Francois Hollande, who is expected to be eliminated in the first round of voting.