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Presidential hopefuls step up bid for French votes

Presidential hopefuls step up bid for French votes
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The charm offensive has intensified for Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, the candidates who will go head-to-head in a fortnight in a bid to become the next French president. Sarkozy wasted no time in resuming his campaign after Sunday’s first-round vote. He emerged with a five percent lead over his rival but can’t afford to rest on his laurels.

Having successfully sought out some of the far-right’s electorate with tough measures on crime and immigration, he will now look to do the same with centrist voters. He showed a softer side at a Paris women’s association, saying he saw a country as a family and offering training and career prospects for the country’s downtrodden.

Despite Sarkozy’s lead, Socialist Royal has enjoyed a good morning after the night before. With the various far-left candidates giving her their backing for the run-off, she can already claim to be nibbling away at Sarkozy’s lead. She told reporters that the momentum was carrying her forward and that her party must now continue to work hard.

The media will be hot on the heels of both candidates as the campaign trail takes them across France. A key date will be May 2 when they will challenge each other directly on live television. A week is said to be a long time in politics. Sarko and Sego, as they are often dubbed in France, have two weeks to win the public’s confidence.