Nicolas Sarkozy is set to take the lead in the first round 28.5 per cent to Hollande’s 27 per cent, though Hollande is still tipped to win the second round run-off, 54.5% to 45.5%.
This comes on the back of Sarkozy’s largest rally last week, where he pledged to halve the number of immigrants and re-negotiate France participation in the Schengen accord. This seems to have struck a chord with the French electorate.
Hollande is currently pledging increased spending and raising the top rate of tax to 45%, while Sarkozy has followed Hollande’s stance by promising to target tax exiles who leave France to specifically to avoid their tax regime.
There was speculation she might not have gained the 500 signatures needed to stand as a candidate, which comprise of elected officials as they had to openly declare their names, before the deadline this Friday. If Le Pen had not gained the signatures, her voters may have swung to Sarkozy, giving him an even bigger lead.
• Why we should worry about the poison of Le Pen 17 Feb 2012
• Is François Hollande the next President of France? 9 Feb 2012
Le Pen currently has 16% of the vote, which has been falling consistently over the past few weeks; let’s hope it continues to fall.