France's "third man" tries to win over voters

France's "third man" tries to win over voters
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The defeated centrist candidate in the French presidential polls has created a new political force, just a month before legislative elections. It is a big risk for the leader of the UDF party, as the majority of outgoing UDF lawmakers have rallied behind president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We only have a choice of giving up or resisting and my deep conviction is that it is easier to give up but then there is no future,” said Francois Bayrou. “It is fairer, more loyal, more promising, more important to resist, and show what we are made of.”

National delegates of the UDF met in Paris to vote for the creation of the Democratic Movement, which Bayrou believes will attract some 22,000 members. One UDF delegate said: “UDF, a creation of Giscard d’Estaing, has undergone various changes. Maybe it is the right time, it is dynamic, something with life in it, so let’s go.”

Bayrou hopes to remain the third man, a title he obtained during the presidential campaign as he tried to take a place between the left and right. This pro-European centrist, is hoping to build on what he scored in the first round of the presidentials, just over 18 percent of the vote.

However, Sarkozy’s powerful UMP party has already managed to attract the allegiance of 22 of the 29 outgoing UDF lawmakers, leaving Bayrou’s new party looking very fragile.

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