Centrist Bayrou to get vintage tractor back

16th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou, who makes political hay of his rural roots, is to be reunited with a restored 1952 tractor that belonged to his father.

PARIS, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou, who makes political hay of his rural roots, is to be reunited with a restored 1952 tractor that belonged to his father.

Students at an agriculture school in the northwestern region of Beauce offered to fix up the rusting Massey-Harris Pony three years ago during a visit by Bayrou, who was then campaigning in regional elections.

"It arrived in a pitiful state. The motor didn't work and repairing it was a real challenge," the Parisien newspaper quoted a teacher at the agriculture school as saying on Friday.

A team of eight students have been working for over a year to restore the tractor, hunting down parts on the Internet and sprucing it up with red and yellow paint. They managed to get it running again this past week.

Born into a family of farmers from the southwestern Bearn region of France, Bayrou still lives on his childhood farm, where he breeds horses and owns several tractors.

A challenger in the April-May election who has enjoyed a spectacular climb in the polls over the past two months, Bayrou insisted in a recent documentary on French television to be filmed riding a tractor.

In his recently-released book "Project for Hope", which is on the best-seller list, the 55-year-old teacher said supporters have been giving him model tractors as gifts.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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