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Frank Augstein / AP

"France votes in presidential nailbiter" — Agence France Press, from Paris: "France voted Sunday under heavy security in the first round of the most unpredictable presidential election in decades, with the outcome seen as vital for the future of the beleaguered European Union."

Trump has tweeted saying the election is "very interesting," and there has been speculation he's supporting far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Reince Priebus said on NBC's Meet the Press: "He may have some opinions for who he think might win but he certainly doesn't have a preference."

  • "Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are the favourites to progress to a run-off on May 7."
  • "Le Pen, the 48-year-old leader of the National Front (FN), hopes to capitalise on security fears that were catapulted to the fore of the campaign after the fatal shooting of a policeman on Paris's Champs Elysees avenue claimed by the Islamic State group."
  • "Aiming to ride a wave of populism that carried Donald Trump to the White House and led Britain to vote for Brexit, Le Pen wants France to abandon the euro and intends to call a referendum on withdrawing from the EU as well.
  • "Observers predict that a Le Pen victory could be a fatal blow for the EU, already weakened by Britain's vote to leave."
  • "Macron, 39, is seeking to become France's youngest ever president and has campaigned on a strongly pro-EU and pro-business platform."

AP says partial official results and early polling agency projections are expected when polls close at 2 p.m. ET, or soon thereafter.

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Go deeper

Inside Trump's hunt for "disloyal" Republicans

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump and his associates are systematically reshaping the Republican Party, working to install hand-picked loyalists across federal and state governments and destroy those he feels have been disloyal, sources close to the former president tell Axios.

Why it matters: If most or all of Trump’s candidates win, he will go into the 2024 election cycle with far more people willing to do his bidding who run the elections in key states.

42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

CPI: The new jobs number

Grocery shoppers in Washington, D.C., last month. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Consumer Price Index has replaced the jobs report as the most anticipated data drop by the U.S. government.

Why it matters: Rising prices tend to lower political fortunes. Washington and Wall Street are now waiting for the CPI number to flash at 8:30am ET around the 10th day of each month. This month's report — due Friday morning — will give a reading of how hot inflation ran in November.

COVID cases and deaths are on the rise

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising all across the U.S. even before the Omicron variant takes hold.

Why it matters: The holidays — and the inevitable spread of Omicron — will only heighten the risks that unvaccinated Americans face from COVID, in all its forms.