Villepin pulls ahead of Sarkozy as most popular

30th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 29 (AFP) - French prime minister Dominique de Villepin has for the first time overtaken interior minister and ruling party chief Nicolas Sarkozy as the most popular figure on the right, according to an opinion poll Thursday.

PARIS, Sept 29 (AFP) - French prime minister Dominique de Villepin has for the first time overtaken interior minister and ruling party chief Nicolas Sarkozy as the most popular figure on the right, according to an opinion poll Thursday.

Sarkozy fell by six points over the last month, and now has the support of 47 percent who believe he "should play an important role in the months and years ahead," according to the Sofres survey for Le Figaro magazine.

Villepin, who remained unchanged at 48 percent, also overtook the leading left-wing politician Bernard Kouchner who fell to 47 percent as well.

Till now Sarkozy -- an outspoken rightwinger -- has been regarded as the clear front-runner to be the candidate for the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party in 2007 presidential elections.

However de Villepin, who is a close ally of President Jacques Chirac, is widely credited with an accomplished performance during his four months in office -- and his ratings have been creeping upwards.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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