France votes to choose Sarkozy or Hollande (Lead)May 6th, 2012 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS
Paris, May 6 (IANS) Voters in France cast their ballots Sunday in a crucial run-off in the country’s presidential polls that could see a Socialist win for the first time since 1988.
The second round of elections witnessed about 31 percent of the voters casting their ballots by noon, the French interior ministry stated.
On Sunday, polling stations opened at 8.00 a.m. in mainland France, as its 46 million registered voters chose between the right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger François Hollande, Xinhua reported.
On Sunday, Sarkozy cast his vote in the 16th arrondisment (district) in Paris with his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy just before noon. Though looking quite tired, the president greeted supporters in a cheerful manner.
Hollande cast his vote at 10.30 a.m. in Tulle, central France, where he served as the mayor from 2001 to 2008.
Shaking hands and taking pictures, Hollande spent time with supporters and journalists before casting his ballot.
Early polling in French overseas territories was held Saturday due to time differences, starting from the small French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, off the east coast of Canada.
Results of the polling will be announced after all the voting booths in mainland France close at 8 p.m. (6 p.m. GMT).
The first round of the presidential race on April 22. Hollande is leading in the latest French opinion polls, with 52.5-53.5 percent saying they would vote for him.
Sarkozy, who had gained 27.18 percent of the vote in the first round, needed a breakthrough in Wednesday’s television debate to retake the lead from Hollande, who had received 28.63 percent.
However, most TV viewers preferred Hollande, saying they were impressed by his confident manner.
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