Hollande, Sarkozy heading to French vote runoff

PARIS – Francois Hollande, a mild-mannered French Socialist who wants to take better care of the jobless and the poor, is heading to a presidential runoff election against tough-on-immigration Nicolas Sarkozy in a vote that could alter Europe’s political and economic landscape.

Hollande heads into the May 6 second round with the upper hand after narrowly edging the conservative Sarkozy in the first round of France’s voting Sunday, according to near-complete official results.

In the campaign’s biggest surprise, nearly one in five voters chose far right candidate Marine Le Pen instead, handing her a solid third place and a chance to weigh in on French politics with her anti-immigration platform that targets France’s millions of Muslims.

With 93 percent of the vote counted, Hollande had 28.4 percent of the ballots cast and Sarkozy 27 percent, according to figures released by the Interior Ministry.

Le Pen was in third with 18.3 percent of the vote so far, the best showing ever by the far right National Front party founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen. In fourth place was leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon with 11 percent, followed by centrist Francois Bayrou with 9.1 percent and five other candidates with minimal support. <AP/Xinhua/Newsis>

Supporters of Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande react after the results of the first round of the French elections at the Socialist headquarters in Paris, France, Sunday, April 22, 2012

 

Volunteers count ballots after the first round of the presidential election in Tulle, central France, Sunday, April 22, 2012.

 

 

French socialist candidate Francois Hollande speaks at the celebration rally in Paris, France, April 22, 2012.

 

 

A supporter of Socialist Party candidate for the presidential election Francois Hollande reacts after the results of the first round of the French elections at the Socialist headquarters in Paris, France, Sunday, April 22, 2012.

 

news@theasian.asia

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