Sarkozy edges ahead of Royal in French campaign

1st March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy would beat Socialist Segolene Royal in a run-off with 53.5 percent of the votes, a poll showed Thursday.

PARIS, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy would beat Socialist Segolene Royal in a run-off with 53.5 percent of the votes, a poll showed Thursday.

Royal, who wants to become France's first woman president, would get 46.5 percent of votes, according to the Ipsos poll.

A separate poll earlier this week showed the two candidates running neck-and-neck in the race for the April-May vote.

The poll gave Sarkozy 32 percent of votes in the first round of voting while Royal scored 25 percent. Centrist Francois Bayrou maintained his hold on the third place with 18 percent of votes.

Sarkozy, 52, has been ahead in 29 consecutive polls released since he won the nomination for the governing Union for the Popular Movement (UMP) on January 14.

But a poll by the LH2 firm released on Monday showed for the first time since early January that Royal and Sarkozy were on equal footing, each garnering 50 percent in the run-off.

Royal, 53, has climbed back in the polls since a high-profile television appearance last week and a reorganisation of her campaign to bring in former rivals and party heavyweights.

Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who stunned the nation in 2002 when he qualified for the second round of voting against Jacques Chirac, is in fourth place with 12.5 percent of votes, according to the Ipsos poll.

The first round of voting is scheduled for April 22 and a run-off is to take place on May 6 if none of the candidates win an outright majority.

The poll was carried out from Monday to Wednesday with a representative sampling of 1,009 respondents.

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Subject: French news

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