French presidential elections: Sarkozy facing defeat


France's incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy looks set to lose Sunday's election to Socialist Francois Hollande after a disappointing debate and missing out on the backing of centrist leader Francois Bayrou.


Eric Feferberg

PARIS, France -- With just two days to go until the French presidential election, the last opinion polls show the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to lose to his Socialist opponent Francois Hollande.

Reuters reports that "the race has tightened" with Hollande's lead narrowing from a high of ten percentage points earlier in the campaign to as little as five heading into the vote.

The news agency quotes polls from Ipsos, BVA, CSA, Harris Interactive and TNS-Sofres which predict the final tally to be between 52.5% and 53.5% for Hollande and 46.5% to 47.5% for Sarkozy. 

The increase in support comes despite the fact that the centrist leader Francois Bayrou, who took 9.1% of the vote in the first round, announced his support for Hollande on Thursday, as the BBC reports.

"If his supporters join him in voting for Mr Hollande, it would deal a significant blow to Nicholas Sarkozy's chances for re-election," the news service says.

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France 24 explains that Sarkozy had been hoping to edge ahead in polls after a televised debate between the two remaining candidates was broadcast on Wednesday. 

However, French media have declared the debate a draw, denying Sarkozy a "much-needed" campaign boost.

The Daily Mail says that it would be an "historic upset" if Sarkozy regained the lead, adding that most political commentators now agree that Hollande will be the next president.

A ban on reporting on opinion polls will come into force at midnight French time until the results of the election are released on Sunday night.

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