In a move described by observers as ground-breaking the French centrist Francois Bayrou has said he is backing socialist Francois Hollande in Sunday’s final presidential election round.
The move is being seen as a further blow to the chances of Nicolas Sarkozy being re-elected.
“Sarkozy after a good score in the first round has pursued a path to the far right in which is not in line with our values,” said Bayrou. “Everything which we believe in deeply and hold dear has been completely brushed aside and denied in principle.”
It is the first time that a centrist has chosen to go with the left-wing candidate and could result in a significant boost for Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy’s best hopes of securing a second term hinge on winning the support of at least 80 percent of the far right vote. However their first round candidate, Marine le Pen, has said she will leave her voting slip blank in the second round.