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May 3, 2007

Sarcozy Still On Top After French Debate (Updated)

Topics: International News

If an opinion poll released by the conservative daily Le Figaroon on Thursday is in fact reflective of French public opinion, pro-U.S. conservative Nicolas Sarkozy outshined his Socialist rival Segolene Royal in the recent televised debate (described as "ill-tempered"), boosting his position as clear favorite to win Sunday's presidential election.

Sarkozy, who has led in more than 100 opinion polls since the start of the year, said he did not believe the debate would change the pattern of the campaign.

"I don't think everything is decided by a debate, however much of a media event it may be," he told RTL radio.

An opinion poll published late on Wednesday put Sarkozy's support at 53.5 percent against 46.5 for Royal, with 86 percent saying they will not change their minds before the May 6 vote.

More here.

The two candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, depict each other as a US poodle and a diplomatic buffoon, but French presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal are expected to have remarkably similar foreign policies in office:

Royal, a Socialist, wants the world's leading powers to be stricter with Iran over its nuclear programme. Right-winger Sarkozy wants to forge stronger ties with Washington. Both say they will get tough with countries violating human rights.

Despite the rhetoric, analysts say the winner of France's presidential run-off ballot on Sunday will probably not stray far from where outgoing President Jacques Chirac leaves off.

... Royal and Sarkozy say they intend to continue much of Chirac's popular foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East.

... Royal's position on Iran goes well beyond the common stance negotiated between France, the US, Germany, Britain, China and Russia. They are trying to persuade Iran to give up its most sensitive technology, which can be used to generate electricity or make bombs, in exchange for incentives.

Update: The Weekly Standard warns: Dial back your hopeful expectations (hat tip - Wheat & Weeds)

Posted by Richard at May 3, 2007 9:54 AM

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