New polls published today would appear to confirm that the bell is tolling for France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Once a man whose phenomenal dynamism left French voters with whiplash, Sarkozy now appears to be going down to the most ignominious defeat of any president since the nation’s current system of government was created in 1958.
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Sarkozy on April 22 became the Fifth Republic’s first incumbent president not to finish first in the beginning round of the presidential elections. Polls have long indicated he may not survive the challenge by the Socialist candidate François Hollande.
The Agence France-Presse news agency today reports that a new poll by CSA shows that Sarkozy’s efforts to turn things around are not passing muster.
Live telephone interviews of 1,121 adults between Tuesday and Wednesday, of whom 1,009 were registered voters, indicated that 54 percent said they supported Hollande versus 46 for Sarkozy.
An average of polls published today by Reuters shows that surveys conducted by TNS-Sofres, BVA, IPSOS, Harris Interactive, CSA and Opinion Way gives the same result.
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Sarkozy this week ruled out an electoral pact with the far-right, anti-immigrant Front National, which won 20 percent of all ballots cast on April 22 and could mathematically give Sarkozy a winning margin.
However, this may be proving irresistible to a man with so much to lose. Reporting with AFP, the news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur said unemployment, a key source of voter disconent with Sarkozy, had again risen by 0.6 percent in March.
Appearing on the national television broadcaster France 2 this evening, Sarkozy addressed the National Front’s supporters:
“I wish to say to its voters that I respect them,” he was quoted as saying by Le Parisien, hastening to criticize “the right-thinking Left.”
Hollande, however, said he had “no need to speak like the Front National.”