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May 5, 2012

Sarkozy headed for election defeat

PARIS (Reuters) – Nicolas Sarkozy was headed for an election defeat on Sunday that could make him the 11th European leader to be swept from office by the economic crisis and crown Francois Hollande as France’s first Socialist president in 17 years.

Buoyed by a tide of anger over Sarkozy’s inability to rein in rampant unemployment during his five-year term, Hollande was between four and eight points ahead in final opinion polls for a vote that could mean a shift in direction for Europe.

May 4, 2012

Sarkozy keeps door open a crack for political future

PARIS (Reuters) – Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to quit politics if he loses the presidency on Sunday, but one of his closest advisers hinted that he is privately leaving the door open to rekindling his political career in opposition.

Sarkozy’s hopes of winning a second term were fading two days ahead of the runoff vote, as far-right and centrist leaders deserted him and he failed to land a knockout punch on Socialist rival Francois Hollande in a televised debate.

May 4, 2012

Sarkozy’s chances fade two days before French runoff

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chances of holding on to power were fading two days before France’s election runoff, with far-right and centrist leaders refusing to endorse him and his usually bland Socialist rival performing confidently in a TV debate.

Opinion polls suggested Sarkozy could squeeze Socialist challenger Francois Hollande’s lead down to around five percentage points from as much as 10 in the last few days.

May 3, 2012

Sarkozy courts far-right but fails to floor Hollande

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a last-ditch appeal to far-right voters on Thursday, saying they could be decisive in Sunday’s election runoff, after he failed to land a knockout blow in a debate with Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande.

Wednesday’s three-hour televised duel, watched by 17.8 million people out of an electorate of 44.5 million, was billed as Sarkozy’s last opportunity to overturn a poll deficit of six to 10 points, drawing on his skills as an aggressive debater.

May 3, 2012

Preview: Hollande in winning position for French runoff

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy faces defeat at the hands of Socialist Francois Hollande in a presidential runoff on Sunday, paving the way for a French push to temper austerity in stagnating euro zone economies with a new focus on growth.

A slight narrowing in latest opinion polls suggests Sarkozy may manage a closer finish than Hollande’s 6 to 10 point lead in the deciding vote, yet his failure to land a knockout punch in a televised debate may have doomed his re-election hopes.

May 3, 2012

Hollande in winning position for French runoff

PARIS (Reuters) – President Nicolas Sarkozy faces defeat at the hands of Socialist Francois Hollande in a presidential runoff on Sunday, paving the way for a French push to temper austerity in stagnating euro zone economies with a new focus on growth.

A slight narrowing in latest opinion polls suggests Sarkozy may manage a closer finish than Hollande’s 6 to 10 point lead in the deciding vote, yet his failure to land a knockout punch in a televised debate may have doomed his re-election hopes.

May 2, 2012

Sarkozy fails to down Hollande in French vote duel

PARIS, May 3 (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy
and Socialist Francois Hollande clashed repeatedly in their only
television debate but the conservative incumbent failed to land
a knockout blow to shake his challenger’s lead for Sunday’s
runoff.

Hollande, ahead in opinion polls by six to 10 points, seemed
calm and unflappable during the nearly three-hour debate on
Wednesday while Sarkozy, struggling to catch up with the
moderate social democrat, was often agitated and tense.

May 2, 2012

Bickering, tensions pepper French election debate

PARIS (Reuters) – A televised debate between France’s presidential rivals veered repeatedly into schoolyard bickering, with Socialist Francois Hollande mocking Nicolas Sarkozy for having no other defense than to keep calling him a liar.

Their body language in Wednesday’s late-night showdown also betrayed the rivals’ differing stress levels. Hollande, running well ahead in polls, was unflappable and poised while Sarkozy, battling to stave off defeat in Sunday’s runoff, seemed twitchy, agitated and on edge.

May 2, 2012

Sarkozy, Hollande go head to head in TV debate

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist rival Francois Hollande were set to clash in their only television debate on Wednesday seen as the conservative incumbent’s last chance to turn the odds of re-election in his favour.

Trailing Hollande in opinion polls for Sunday’s decisive runoff despite an aggressive campaign and a lurch to the right to appeal to far-right votes, Sarkozy billed the prime-time debate as the “moment of truth” in the race.

May 2, 2012

France’s Sarkozy approaches TV debate as “challenger”

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy will go into a televised election debate against Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande as a “challenger” as he battles to avoid defeat in Sunday’s runoff poll, a senior aide said.

The conservative president and his centre-left rival have been at each other’s throats for months, with Sarkozy accusing Hollande of being incompetent and a liar, and Hollande calling the incumbent a “failed president” and “a nasty piece of work”.

    • About Catherine

      "Catherine is chief correspondent for Reuters France, in charge of political and macroeconomic news, with a focus for 2011 on the G20 presidency, euro zone debt crisis and 2012 election campaign. She has reported from 16 countries for Reuters -- most recently in Latin America as a senior correspondent in Mexico City -- on stories ranging from the Haiti earthquake to the Beijing Olympic Games."
      Languages:
      English, French, Spanish
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