May 6 - French presidential voting is underway in Paris. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Voting started in mainland France on Sunday (May 6) in an election that could make Nicolas Sarkozy the 11th European leader to be swept from office by the economic crisis and crown Francois Hollande as France's first Socialist president in 17 years. Buoyed by a tide of anger over Sarkozy's inability to rein in rampant unemployment during his five-year term, Hollande was between four and eight points ahead in final opinion polls for a vote that could mean a shift in direction for Europe. Despite shaving a couple of points off Hollande's lead in the last days of a frenetic campaign, the conservative's own aides privately admitted it would require a miracle for him to beat the odds and clinch a second term. Polling stations are open from 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) to 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Sunday, and two hours later in big cities.