Despite the need to woo voters, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he won’t make a deal with the far-right.
The National Front’s success in Sunday’s first round of France’s presidential election has spurred Sarkozy’s hopes of clinching a second term on May 6.
“There will be no deal and there will be no ministers from the National Front. But I refuse to demonise men and women who, by casting a vote for Marine Le Pen, have expressed a crisis vote, an anger vote, a suffering vote, a vote of desperation,” said Sarkozy, adding that he would be taking their concerns into account.
After winning the first round, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande can count on a proportion of the far-right’s support. A few pundits predict as many as 50 percent of Le Pen voters will switch support to him.
But with 11 days of campaigning left, he continues to play up his major strength with voters, repeating a pledge to reduce the negative aspects of EU integration.
Hollande told France 2 Television on Wednesday: “I said before the first round that I would renegotiate the European budget treaty. You can’t do away with it completely as it is essential. But there must be growth and activity and there must be a framework for Europe to lead us into the future and not to have austerity forever.”
With nearly a million ethnic Armenians residing in France, both candidates were keen to have their presence felt at an anniversary ceremony on Tuesday for the victims of the Armenian genocide after World War I. The pair arrived at separate times.
French officials are trying to push through legislation making it an offence to deny the tragedy, which has led to a dispute with Turkey. France’s Supreme Court has, so far, overturned the new law.