France voted in a presidential run-off election Sunday expected to see Socialist challenger Francois Hollande defeat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by capitalizing on public anger over spending cuts and a Europe-wide push for austerity.
Paris (AFP) - France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy was on Saturday tipped to win the leadership of his right-wing UMP in party elections, a position seen as a potential springboard back into high office.
As expected Francois Hollande and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy will square off on May 6 in round two of the French presidential elections.
However, there was a huge surprise in spot number 3 as extreme right wing candidate Marine Le Pen pulled in 18% of the vote running on a dump-the-euro platform.
First Round Totals
Le Pen: 18%
Please consider Le Pen voters to arbitrate Hollande-Sarkozy duel
Latest polls show French President Sarkozy is losing ground to right-wing anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round of the France presidential election. Via Google translate, please consider Le Pen and Bayrou Back
PARIS — Returning from the political wilderness, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken a big step toward a possible re-election bid by winning the leadership of the country’s main conservative party.
Sarkozy had been widely expected to win the Union for a Popular Movement leadership in the vote by party members Saturday. The 59-year-old Gaullist collected 64.5% of the vote to defeat former government ministers Bruno Le Maire and Herve Mariton, a margin that some analysts said was below expectations.