French voters want anyone but Sarkozy: Russian press
Russian papers said Monday that French voters had expressed their frustration with President Nicolas Sarkozy and gave the incumbent only a limited chance of beating his Socialist rival in a run-off.
"Today in France (unlike in Russia), the people are voting for the opposite -- anyone but Sarkozy," the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote in an article written before the first results from Sunday's election were announced.
Some papers predicted that public sentiment in France was so strong against Sakrozy that anyone who faced off against him in the second round on May 6 would win.
"Out of two evils, (people) are selecting the fresher one," the Kommersant business daily wrote in a headline.
Left-leaning candidate Francois Hollande won 28.56 percent of the vote, beating Sarkozy's 27.07 percent, while anti-EU flag-bearer Marine Le Pen won a best-ever 18.12 percent, according to near-complete interior ministry results.
The online edition of the Russia's Vesti state news channel predicted that Sarkozy and Hollande would now focus on winning the backing of the centrist Francois Bayrou, who finished fifth with less than 10 percent of the vote.
"In the last elections, the Socialists never did manage to win his official support," said Vesti.
"This time, Sarkozy constantly stressed the similarity of the right's and the centrists' positions."
The respected Vedomosti business daily was one of the few Russian papers to give Sarkozy a chance in the second round.
"Sarkozy became the first president of the Fifth Republic to lose the first round, but he still retains a chance of overall victory," it said in its online edition.
© 2012 AFP