Royal climbs back in the polls after TV show

21st February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Segolene Royal bounced back in the polls on Wednesday following her appearance in a television show seen as a potential turning point for her flagging campaign.

PARIS, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Segolene Royal bounced back in the polls on Wednesday following her appearance in a television show seen as a potential turning point for her flagging campaign.

A CSA poll showed Royal would garner 49 percent of votes -- a full four-point comeback from last week -- in a run-off against rightwing rival Nicolas Sarkozy who nevertheless remained ahead with 51 percent of votes.

"Royal breathes easier," wrote the popular Parisien newspaper, which published the poll. "The CSA poll shows that the Socialist candidate, who some said was politically asphyxiated, is doing better."

The polls also showed Royal picking up 29 percent of votes in the first round of voting, slightly ahead of Sarkozy with 28 percent.

The 53-year-old mother of four has been battling to reverse a slide in the polls since mid-January when Sarkozy, the current interior minister, won the nomination of the governing rightwing party.

Nearly nine million viewers tuned in on Monday evening to watch Royal field questions over two hours from an audience of 100 men and women on the programme "I Have a Question to Ask You."

The broadcast provided a test for the candidate, who failed to stage a comeback in the polls after she unveiled her 100-point elections programme ten days ago.

Royal won high points for her television performance, appearing at ease as she answered a wide range of questions on boosting the minimum wage, pension reform, hospital care and even euthanasia.

With two months to go before the first round of voting in April, Royal is also facing a challenge from centrist Francois Bayrou who is gaining ground in the polls with 17 percent of votes.

A second round of voting is scheduled for May 6.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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