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March 23, 2023

French presidential campaign enters final phase

PARIS – French voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in the first round of a presidential election that should ultimately see France’s first Socialist leader in nearly two decades.  The campaign enters it’s final phase as Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy and his main rival Socialist Francois Hollande hold final rallies. Voters will have a choice of ten candidates in this Sunday’s first round vote, with Marine Le Pen on the far right and Jean-Luc Melenchon on the far left, who pollsters say are likely to place third and fourth..Public opinion surveys show Hollande in a dead heat with Nicolas Sarkozy in a first round of voting and winning in a second. The French president suffered an embarrassment earlier this week when an aide to his centre-right predecessor, Jacques Chirac, said the 79-year-old will vote for Socialist pick Hollande. A run-off between the top two candidates will be held on May 6th.Hollande is a veteran of the French political scene. He headed the Socialist Party for years. But he has never held a top government post and generally is not considered to be particularly charismatic.  Hollande is aware of this.  He describes himself as a “normal man.”Sarkozy was elected president in 2007, bringing hope for change. But many French were turned off by what they considered to be his flashy personality and an inconsistent policies.

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