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French expats turn out in droves to vote in Montreal

French voters in Montreal, stand in a line spanning several city blocks waiting to cast a vote in their country's presidential election. Saturday, April 22, 2017. Géraldine‏ @rondcontrecarre /Twitter

Lineups were long for French expats waiting to vote in France’s presidential election in Montreal Saturday.

Montreal police block street, as French voters stand in line waiting to cast a ballot in their country’s presidential election. Saturday, April 22, 2017. Courtesy TVA

The polling station, located in Outremont, opened at 8 a.m. for the first round of voting.

READ MORE: Obama calls French presidential candidate days before voters cast ballots

Hundreds stood outside, some waited in the drizzling rain for over an hour, to cast their ballot.

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By early afternoon, some estimated the wait time had swelled to between four to six hours.

The most recent numbers from the French embassy indicate that more than 57, 000 citizens were registered to vote in the city, — an increase since the last election in 2012.

READ MORE: French election could be ‘a historical inflection point’: former Obama adviser

Some were critical of organizers, wondering why more polling stations were not made available for the increased number of voters.

Pundits say the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the first round of voting could be what’s driving the high turnout.

READ MORE: Right-wing French politician Marine Le Pen gets frosty reception in Montreal

Many French Montrealers said their main reason to come out and vote was to block extremists from moving forward — namely far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Recent polls suggest Le Pen is almost guaranteed to move ahead to the second round of voting.

Polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m.

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–With files from the Canadian Press

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