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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 6, 2007
French nationals in India vote for 2nd round of their Presidential polls
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French nationals in India vote for 2nd round of their Presidential polls

French nationals in Pondicherry came out on Sunday to vote in the second-round of French Presidential elections.

Pondicherry, May 6 : French nationals in Pondicherry came out on Sunday to vote in the second-round of French Presidential elections.

Voters gathered at polling booths set up in the former French-ruled territory to cast their votes. They have to choose between front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy and his female rival Segolene Royal.

"The second phase of elections are going on in Pondicherry for the President of France. Two candidates are contesting, one is lady madam Segolene Royal another is Nicolas Sarkozy. Here, there are four booths, polling starts by 8'o clock and ends by 6'o clock in the evening. There are 5,500 French voters enlisted in Pondicherry," said Muraga, a voter.

France votes on Sunday in a presidential run-off ballot that pits the right-wing son of a Hungarian immigrant against a Socialist bidding to become France's first woman president.

About one million French nationals, living in overseas territories, including in the Americas and French Polynesia, are eligible to cast their votes. In India, there are about 5500 French nationals residing in Pondicherry.

In total, some 44.5 million French voters are eligible to cast their ballot. Opinion polls giving an initial indication of the result are expected to be released straight after voting ends at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

Sunday's vote is the culmination of a fierce campaign in which Royal warned that her opponent would be a "dangerous hoice" whose election could spark off suburban riots. Sarkozy's camp on the other hand has described Royal as a gaffe-prone lightweight, a tax-and-spend Socialist unable to keep her cool.

The two have offered contrasting visions of France.

Royal combined left-wing economic policies and a consensual approach to social affairs in a "change without brutality" reform package.

Sarkozy campaigned for the "silent majority" of hard-working French people, vowing real change with reforms that would shake up a hidebound economy to foster growth, jobs and spending power and restore national identity.

He topped the first round vote on April 22 with 31.2 percent of the ballot against 25.9 percent for Royal. The turnout was almost a record at 84.5 percent.

While Royal refused to concede defeat on the last day of campaigning before Saturday's "day of reflection", aides acknowledged she had a mountain to climb and many were already thinking about the Socialists' future should she lose.

"The Socialists are preparing to refashion themselves after May 6," the left-leaning Liberation daily said on Saturday, noting that Royal had opened the door to a new era of alliances with her assiduous courting of centrist voters.

Royal, 53, a relatively unknown figure, defied veteran party leaders to capture the presidential nomination last November on the back of polls showing she was best placed to beat Sarkozy.

Her calls for boot camps for young offenders and measured criticism of some hallowed party policies proved popular, but a gaffe-strewn debut to her campaign underscored doubts about her competence to lead a major economy and nuclear power.

Sarkozy, 52, has worried moderates with his outspoken comments on crime and tough response to the 2005 suburban riots, but he has won new converts with his focus on traditional values, his reform plans and his demand that he be judged by results.


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