Victory is 'within reach' for Royal

4th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

LILLE, France, May 3, 2007 (AFP) - French socialist Segolene Royal told a crowd of fired-up supporters at her last major presidential rally on Thursday that she was confident of victory against right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy.

LILLE, France, May 3, 2007 (AFP) - French socialist Segolene Royal told a crowd of fired-up supporters at her last major presidential rally on Thursday that she was confident of victory against right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy.

"This Sunday, this victory that we want so much for France, is now within reach," Royal told a cheering audience of 20,000 at a concert hall in the northern city of Lille, calling for a mass turnout in the weekend vote.

Speaking of a "wave that keeps on rising and which must continue to rise", Royal -- who failed to deliver a knock-out blow to her rival in a televised debate -- asked her backers "to stay mobilised these two more days."

"I feel your friendship, your closeness, your energy, I feel that we all love each other very much," the 53-year-old said, to wild cheers of "Segolene, president!".

Earlier, French rocker Renaud -- who once wrote a violent attack on former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher -- praised the "fraternity, humanism, and humanity" of Royal's project for France.

Polls suggest that Sarkozy cemented his frontrunner position in the presidential election following the hotly-awaited debate on Wednesday.

Royal, who wants to become France's first woman president, won kudos for her combativeness during the debate that lasted two and a half hours but Sarkozy appeared to score more points for keeping his cool.

A poll by the Opinion Way firm showed 53 percent found Sarkozy more convincing against 31 percent who thought the Socialist candidate better, but Royal's camp challenged the reliability of the survey.

An Ipsos/Dell poll carried out before the debate and published Thursday showed Sarkozy would beat Royal in round two by 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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