Senior Correspondent, France
Brian's Feed
Apr 23, 2012

Sarkozy woos far right after Hollande wins round one

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy hammered home pledges to get tough on immigration and security on Monday as he sought to win over record numbers of far-right voters and whittle down Socialist Francois Hollande’s narrow first-round election lead.

The centre-left Hollande pipped Sarkozy in Sunday’s 10-candidate first round by 28.6 percent to 27.1 percent, but it was National Front leader Marine Le Pen who stole the show by surging to 18 percent, the biggest tally a far-right candidate has ever managed.

Apr 23, 2012

French far right holds balance after Hollande edges Sarkozy

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy hammered home pledges to get tough on immigration and security on Monday as he sought to win over record numbers of far-right voters and whittle down Socialist Francois Hollande’s narrow first-round election lead.

The centre-left Hollande pipped Sarkozy in Sunday’s 10-candidate first round by 28.6 percent to 27.1 percent, but it was National Front leader Marine Le Pen who stole the show by surging to 18 percent, the biggest tally a far-right candidate has ever managed.

Apr 23, 2012

Newsmaker – France’s Hollande, presidential race leader

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande, who topped the first round of a presidential election on Sunday, promises to spare France harsh, Greek-style austerity and to refocus Europe on economic growth if he becomes the first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand.

Unlike Mitterrand, the 57-year-old who has never held ministerial office says he has no intention of launching a public spending blitz that was once synonymous with left-wing rule, pledging instead to balance state finances while raising taxes to finance his spending priorities.

Apr 22, 2012

France’s Hollande, presidential race leader

PARIS (Reuters) – Francois Hollande, who topped the first round of a presidential election on Sunday, promises to spare France harsh, Greek-style austerity and to refocus Europe on economic growth if he becomes the first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand.

Unlike Mitterrand, the 57-year-old who has never held ministerial office says he has no intention of launching a public spending blitz that was once synonymous with left-wing rule, pledging instead to balance state finances while raising taxes to finance his spending priorities.

Apr 22, 2012

French election gag sparks fun and fury on web

PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) – France’s endeavours to prevent
premature leaks of Sunday’s first round presidential election
results set the web-warped world of Twitter alight with jibes,
jokes and cryptic messages recalling coded World War Two radio
communications.

“Netherlands-Hungary qualify for return leg,” said one tweet
in a play on the name of Socialist challenger Francois Hollande
and the origin of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s father.

Apr 22, 2012

Voting begins in France, economy may sink Sarkozy

PARIS, April 22 (Reuters) – French voters headed to the
polls on Sunday in round one of a presidential ballot, with
economic despair on course to make Nicolas Sarkozy the first
president to lose a fight for re-election in more than 30 years.

In a contest driven as much by a dislike of Sarkozy’s showy
style and his failure to bring down unemployment as by policy
differences, Sarkozy and his Socialist rival Francois Hollande
are pegged to beat eight other candidates to go through to a May
6 runoff, where polls give Hollande a double-digit lead.

Apr 19, 2012

Hollande urges large turnout by French voters

PARIS (Reuters) – Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande urged a large turnout by French voters in the first round of the presidential election on Sunday, warning that mass abstention helped the far-right “enemy” eliminate the left from the contest 10 years ago.

Hollande, tipped in all polls to win the two-round election by a comfortable margin, fears that the positive predictions will lull his supporters into staying home on Sunday.

Apr 18, 2012

France’s Sarkozy hit by defections and poll plunge

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election hopes suffered a double setback four days from the first round of voting when a string of public defections compounded the impression that his tumble in opinion polls is pushing victory beyond reach.

Former town planning minister Fadela Amara joined a growing list of political figures to desert the conservative Sarkozy and announce they will vote for his arch-rival, Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande.

Apr 17, 2012

Chirac, no Sarkozy fan, set to vote for leftist Hollande

PARIS (Reuters) – French former president Jacques Chirac, switching political camps, plans to vote for Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande in the upcoming presidential election, the man who helped him write his memoirs said on Tuesday.

“It’s no state secret,” Jean-Luc Barre, who helped Chirac pen his memoirs, told Reuters. “He hasn’t just been telling me. He says it to absolutely everyone he sees.”

Apr 17, 2012

Profile: Hollande, France’s “Mr Normal” would-be president

PARIS (Reuters) – The very first thing “Mr Normal” Francois Hollande plans to do if he becomes France’s first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand on May 6 is to cut his own salary by 30 percent.

One thing he says he will not do in debt-stricken times is to unleash a public spending blitz or a wave of nationalisations of the kind that opened the Mitterrand era in 1981.