BRUSSELS, April 23 Belgian and Swiss media
carried reports on Sunday saying that unidentified pollsters
believed Emmanuel Macron would reach the French presidential
runoff but that it was unclear who his opponent would be.
France's official polling watchdog told Reuters last week
that the country's nine main pollsters had committed to refrain
from carrying out exit polls and said anything purporting to
reflect results before the last polling stations close at 8 PM
in France (1800 GMT) could only be a rumour at best.
Pollsters also said they would not do exit polls from
Sunday's first round of voting.
All the Belgian media stressed that the findings, whose
sources they did not disclose, were provisional and subject to
An hour before polls close, at which time French polling
agencies will be allowed under national law to release forecasts
of the first-round result, Belgium's French-speaking public
broadcaster RTBF forecast independent centrist Macron would
secure first place, ahead of far-right National Front leader
Marine Le Pen.
The country's two other leading French-language newspapers,
Le Soir and La Libre Belgique, carried similar reports online,
as did the Swiss newspaper Le Temps in Geneva. However, all four
media said Le Pen's lead over conservative Francois Fillon and
leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon was too close to call.
The top two candidates will run off for the French
presidency on May 7.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Andrew Callus)