France’s Socialist presidential hopeful, Segolene Royal, has been trying to woo supporters of the defeated centrist candidate by taking part in a televised debate. But Francois Bayrou refused to rally behind Royal. “There won’t be any alliances as a result of this debate and I don’t think Segolene Royal will move towards the centre. That’s not what we’re here to talk about,” he said.
But Royal did make an attempt to find some common ground in a bid to broaden her electorate ahead of a decisive vote on May 6. “All the public spending that is suggested will be cost-effective because it is active spending in information, education, innovation, in ecological development and it’s this investment that will create the jobs of tomorrow,” she said. “This is the new sustainable growth that I seek and I will manage to achieve, and I hope with a large majority to do so. Even if we disagree on how to view things, you can see that through discussion, convergence is not impossible,” she added.
The right-wing frontrunner, Nicolas Sarkozy, who refused to take part in the debate, described it as a tragi-comedy during a visit to northern France. “I prefer being on the ground rather than in a big Parisian hotel, he said. “A presidential election is about meeting the people. I feel sorry for Francois Bayrou because he doesn’t seem to have accepted the idea of not being in the final. Have you ever seen a World Cup final being played between three teams?” he added. Sarkozy has consistently been just in front of Royal but the latest opinion polls show the Socialist candidate is slightly gaining ground