Posted On Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 03:44:20 AM
Incumbent Sarkozy and (right) Hollande
France on Saturday held its breath on the eve of a presidential election that Socialist Francois Hollande was predicted to win despite incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy closing the gap after wooing the far-right.
Campaigning ended Friday with the last poll published forecasting a 52-48 per cent win for Hollande.
But the Ifop-Fiducial poll said Sarkozy clawed back six percentage points of voter intentions as he went all-out to enchant those who voted for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round.
With the Socialist’s lead the narrowest since campaigning began, Sarkozy has vowed a surprise, while Hollande has stressed that nothing can be assumed about a first Socialist presidential victory in over a quarter century.
Sarkozy insisted in his final election rally on Friday night that the race was too close to call. “I want to convince you of one thing: every vote will count,” Sarkozy told supporters. “You cannot imagine at what point things will play on a razor’s edge on Sunday.”
And he told Europe 1 radio: “You’ll see a big surprise” at Sunday’s vote.
Hollande meanwhile urged voters to hand him a clear win so he would have a strong mandate to implement his left-wing programme and fight EU-driven austerity.
“I want an ample victory,” Hollande told RTL radio. “If the French people must make a choice, they should do so clearly, overwhelmingly, so the winner has the capacity and means to act.”
Obama’s image an issue in French prez race
A photo of Barack Obama in a campaign video for Nicolas Sarkozy has upset the team of Sarkozy’s rival. Francois Hollande’s campaign chief Pierre Moscovici said he was surprised by the photo of Obama and Sarkozy in the video and called the US Embassy to discuss the matter.
Hollande’s aides fear the image suggests that Obama, who is widely popular in France, is taking sides in the French presidential race. The front page of Sarkozy’s campaign website says the French president is “respected and supported” by
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