Royal leads Sarkozy in presidential race: poll
PARIS, May 19, 2006 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal, the French left's front-runner for next year's presidential election, would beat right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy by 53 percent to 47 in a run-off, according to a poll Friday.
A similar poll for Marianne magazine a month ago put Royal ahead by 52 to 48. If confirmed, she would become France’s first female president.
In the multi-candidate first round of the two-round vote, Royal would come in first with 33 percent followed by Sarkozy on 32, according to the poll a year ahead of the election.
Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen — who caused an upset in 2002 when he came second in the first round and qualified for the run-off against Jacques Chirac — came third in the poll on 13 percent.
The centre-right government of which Sarkozy is a member has been badly hit by allegations of an internecine smear campaign.
Subject: French news