French Socialist candidate Francois Hollande energised supporters at a campaign rally yesterday, saying he would give France a new impetus and lead it in the right direction.
Both Hollande and Sarkozy have been courting the almost one in five voters who helped far-right candidate Marine Le Pen into third place.
But at the rally he said he would not compromise on his ideals and give into the politics of fear to woo Le Pen’s National Front voters. Hollande has ridden a wave of discontent with austerity measures as well as Sarkozy’s abrasive style. He promised to give France a fresh start.
With two-thirds of the French telling pollsters they have a negative view of him, Sarkozy is the most unpopular incumbent to seek a second term and the only one to lose a first-round vote after Hollande beat him by just over one percentage point.