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Friday November 24th, 2017 7:47AM

The Latest: Outgoing French president Hollande casts ballot

By The Associated Press
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PARIS (AP) — The Latest on France's presidential runoff between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

Outgoing French president Francois Hollande has cast his vote in the runoff election to replace him.

Hollande voted Sunday morning in his political fiefdom of Tulle in southwestern France.

Hollande, the most unpopular French leader in the country's modern history, decided not to stand for re-election last year.

The Socialist president has called on voters to reject far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and to back centrist Emmanuel Macron, his former protégé.

The Socialist candidate, Benoit Hamon, was eliminated in the election's first round after receiving some 6 percent of the vote.

___

10:20 a.m.

Police and soldiers are working to secure symbolic Paris venues where France's next president will celebrate victory after Sunday's runoff election between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Macron has opted for the dignified Esplanade du Louvre, the courtyard of the renowned museum in central Paris. The Louvre is already heavily guarded after an extremist attacker targeted soldiers near the museum during the presidential campaign.

If Le Pen wins, she plans to celebrate at the Chalet du Lac (sha-LAY doo lahk) in the Bois de Vincennes (bu-AH de vin-SEN) , a vast park on Paris' eastern edge. She is notably staying away from the area around the Paris Opera, associated with her father's past xenophobic reign over her National Front party.

Celebration sites have a huge symbolic power, and both candidates are trying to break with the past and the traditional left-right divide. It's no wonder Macron didn't choose the Bastille or Republique squares, two highly popular places for the left, or the Place de la Concorde, where former right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated his victory.

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9:10 a.m.

Feminist activists have hung a big banner from a church to protest French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the depressed northern town where she is casting her ballot.

The activists were quickly detained after the protest Sunday in Henin-Beaumont, the latest among many actions in recent days against Le Pen or against both candidates.

Polls suggest centrist Emmanuel Macron is favored to beat Le Pen in Sunday's runoff election.

Parisian voter Yves Robert staged his own kind of protest, casting a blank ballot. Many voters like him are both worried about the racist past of Le Pen's National Front party and worried about the 39-year-old Macron's inexperience or his pro-business policies.

Retiree Gabrielle Lebbe says she voted because she's "worried for my grandchildren, I'm worried for the world."

___

8 a.m.

Voters across France are casting ballots in a presidential election runoff that could decide Europe's future, choosing between independent Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen.

With Macron the pollsters' favorite, voting stations opened across mainland France at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) under the watch of 50,000 security forces guarding against extremist attacks. Polling agency projections and initial official results will be available when the final stations close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

The unusually tense and unpredictable French presidential campaign ended with a hacking attack and document leak targeting Macron on Friday night. France's government cybersecurity agency is investigating the hack.

Either candidate would lead France into uncharted territory, since neither comes from the mainstream parties that dominate parliament and have run the country for decades.

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