Hollande favorite as French prepare for Sunday vote

May 6, 2012

By Daniel Flynn, Reuters

PARIS | Overseas voters cast early ballots on the eve of an election expected to make Francois Hollande France’s first Socialist leader in two decades, despite polls showing President Nicolas Sarkozy clawing back some ground.

Sunday’s election, which coincides with parliamentary polls in Greece, may prove decisive for Europe as Hollande has pledged to temper a German-led austerity drive and reorient the recession-stricken euro zone towards growth.

A limited number of voters cast ballots in advance of Sunday in places far from the French mainland, including Brazil, Canada and North America in addition to the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Sarkozy, who became the first sitting president of modern times to finish second in a presidential first-round vote, must overcome high disapproval rates of his abrasive style.

If he did win, it would be a political sensation after a whirlwind campaign by the man many voters blame for stubbornly high unemployment, running at a 12-year high of nearly 10 percent, and a stagnant economy.

To read more, visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/05/us-france-election-idUSBRE83I0EZ20120505

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