The first overseas voting has begun in the French presidential election, as more than 40 million voters in France enjoy a traditional day of reflection Saturday ahead of Sunday's vote.

Officials decided to permit overseas balloting a day early to compensate for time differences between French territories and the mainland.

There are about one million eligible French overseas voters.

The latest polls indicate that conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal are the front-runners and likely to garner the most votes. But the polls show that some 40 percent of voters are not sure how they will vote.

There are 10 other presidential candidates, with polls showing centrist Francois Bayrou in third place. The leader of the far right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, is fourth.

No candidate is expected to win an outright majority needed for a first-round victory. In that case, the top two candidates will face each other in a run-off vote May sixth.

Balloting started today on the tiny island territories of St. Pierre and Miquelon, off Canada's east coast. Voters on the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and in French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean also cast ballots today.