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French citizens from some overseas regions have begun voting in the country's presidential election. The first votes were cast in Saint Pierre and Miquelon off eastern Canada - but voting in mainland France will be on Sunday.
Socialist Segolene Royal is battling conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. In the final day of campaigning on Friday, Ms Royal said her rival's election might spark riots. Mr Sarkozy accused her of verbal violence.
Voting got under way on Saturday in the tiny French territory of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which has 5,000 registered voters in a population of 6,300.
Voting also takes place early in French Guyana and the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe to offset problems of time difference.
Mainland polling booths open at 0800 (0600 GMT) on Sunday.
On the last day of campaigning on Friday Ms Royal said that electing Mr Sarkozy could spark riots and violence and that he was a "dangerous choice".
"It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of [his] candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country," she said.
Mr Sarkozy reacted angrily, accusing Ms Royal of breaking "elementary rules of democracy".
He said he could not understand why Ms Royal had felt the need to resort to "verbal violence".
"I told Ms Royal that politics should be about respect, openness, tolerance, unity. I feel she's just ending with violence, a certain feverishness. France deserves something else."
As polls showed the Socialists falling ever further behind, Royal issued a series of increasingly dire predictions on Friday, forecasting that widespread violence would erupt if Sarkozy was elected.
Royal: 'Dangerous choice'
"Choosing Nicolas Sarkozy would be a dangerous choice," Royal told RTL radio.
"It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of (his) candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country [if he won]," she said.
Pressed on whether there would actually be violence, Royal said: "I think so, I think so," referring specifically to France's volatile suburbs hit by widespread rioting in 2005.
Sarkozy: 'Violent feelings'
A seemingly-relaxed Sarkozy laughed off Royal's comments.
"She's not in a good mood this morning. It must be the opinion polls," he told Europe 1 radio.
"She's finishing in violence, in a certain state of feverishness," he later told reporters during a trip to the Alps.
"When I hear her remarks, I wonder why a woman of her qualities carries such violent feelings. It adds nothing to the debate."
Sarkozy topped the first round vote on April 22 with 31.2 per cent of the ballot against 25.9 per cent for Royal.