PARIS - French Socialist challenger Francois Hollande won 27.5 percent and conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy 26.6 percent of votes in the first round of France's presidential election based on a tally of 34 percent of ballots, official data showed.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen won 19.9 percent, while far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon had 10.4 percent and centrist Francois Bayrou 9.2 percent.

Earlier projections based on initial vote counts by polling agencies gave a range of between 28.4 and 29.3 percent for Hollande, between 25.5 and 27 percent for Sarkozy and 18.2 to 20.0 percent for Le Pen.

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