Still revelling in his triumph in the first round of the French presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will not sacrifice his principles to bolster support ahead of the run-off on Sunday week. He told 15,000 supporters at a UMP rally in Dijon that he would not buy votes. He said he would stand firm on his beliefs and hope they proved attractive to the centrists and far right. “We are not here to elect the President of the French right, or that of the French left. We are going to elect the President of the French Republic, and the Republic is for everybody. The Republic is the very opposite of sectarianism.
Sarkozy might wish to appear impervious, but he knows he needs centre, and more far right, support if he is to beat Segolene Royal, who is, by contrast openly pursuing the centrists, in a bid to appropriate Francois Bayrou’s support base. “Thank you to the nine million voters who had confidence in me for the first round,” she told supporters in Valence. This time around the Socialists will seek support wherever it can be found. Royal is talking of a “presidential pact” to topple Sarkozy from first place.