Leading French presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande are neck-and-neck in the polls just one week before the election

Hollande Seeks to Overcome Doubts in Fight Against Sarkozy

By Helene Fouquet

Francois Hollande began his march toward the pinnacle of French power in Lorient, a Breton port, three years ago. On June 27, 2009, he told 400 Socialist Party activists they needed to unite to oust Nicolas Sarkozy.

It was the first of his almost 500 events in France’s longest-ever campaign to make voters forget he was nicknamed for a pudding brand and get them to see him as a credible challenger to the most unpopular post-World War II president.

Along the way, Hollande, 57, has had to fight doubts over his own leadership ability, rifts among Socialist factions, the legacy of humiliating defeats on his watch as party chief in 2007 and 2002, and the shadow cast by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the favorite to run this year until his 2011 arrest in New York.

“Hollande has been misjudged by party colleagues,” Jean- Pierre Jouyet, chief of France’s financial-markets regulator and a friend since their military training in 1977, said in an April 16 interview. “I spent the two summers with him after he made his decision to be a candidate and while others took the nomination for granted, he was getting ready.”

Polls show Hollande’s determination may pay off as Sarkozy struggles to overcome the highest joblessness in 12 years and a disapproval rating that reached 64 percent in an Ifop poll published April 15. The Socialist has led every survey since May 2011 and is extending his advantage in the days before the April 22 first round. Hollande’s lead for the May 6 runoff grew to 58 percent to 42 percent in a CSA poll published today. That compares to a 14 point lead last week.

A native of Rouen, the Norman city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English in the 15th century, Hollande has spent his career mainly behind the scenes.


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One Comment on “Leading French presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande are neck-and-neck in the polls just one week before the election”

  1. Faima Bastillette Says:

    Me voilà franchement triste.J’ai voté pour François Hollande pour président seulement parce que j’ai vraiment cru au changement tel qu’il était exposé et à la conception d’un pouvoir irréprochable. Quelle déception de voir que François Hollande choisi comme premier ministre Jean Marc Ayrault, qui est tout sauf irréprochable. Il a vraiment était l’objet d’une condamnation à six mois de prison pour magouille de favoritisme ! Vraiment décue !.

    -English: Here I am frankly sad. I voted for for President Francois Hollande only because I really believed in change as it was exposed and the design of a power beyond reproach. What a disappointment that Francois Hollande chosen as Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault, which is anything but perfect. He really was the subject of a sentence of 6 months in prison for scheming of favoritism! Really disappointed!


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