Final preparations ahead of tonight’s one and only face-to-face debate between France’s two presidential candidates.
Nothing has been left to chance – even agreement on the studio temperature – for this is an all important duel which could determine the outcome of the election.
With latest opinion polls showing Francois Hollande ahead by around seven points, analysts say Nicolas Sarkozy will have to go for a make-or-break performance to save his presidential career.
“Hollande, what he needs to do is to convince people that he is also as passionate as Sarkozy. Now Sarkozy is a debater, everybody knows, he is very combative, he is very pugnacious, he is quite tough, he can be quite hard with his interlocutors, and what Hollande has to avoid, is to seem that he has been brow-beaten in some way by Sarkozy,” said International Relations expert, Christopher Bickerton from the Sciences Po Institute of Political Studies in Paris.
If Sarkozy comes off best, will it be enough to close the gap? With time running out before Sunday’s vote, the last few days could see a hotting up of the 2012 French presidential campaign.