French presidential campaign ends

Voting begins in overseas territories to decide France's next leader.

    Segolene Royal, the Socialist candidate, has said the election of her rival will lead to violence [AFP]

    "It is hard to imagine the trend being reversed," Brice Teinturier, the deputy head of TNS Sofres told a news conference.
     

    Voting began in some of France's overseas territories on Saturday. 

     

    The rest of France's 44.5 million voters will cast their ballots on Sunday.

    Royal: 'Dangerous choice'

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    As polls showed the Socialists falling ever further behind, Royal issued a series of increasingly dire predictions on Friday, forecasting that widespread violence would erupt if Sarkozy was elected.

    "Choosing Nicolas Sarkozy would be a dangerous choice," Royal told RTL radio.

    "It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of (his) candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country [if he won]," she said.

    Pressed on whether there would actually be violence, Royal said: "I think so, I think so," referring specifically to France's volatile suburbs hit by widespread rioting in 2005.

    Sarkozy: 'Violent feelings'

    Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to push through economic reforms if he wins [EPA]

    A seemingly-relaxed Sarkozy laughed off Royal's comments.

    "She's not in a good mood this morning. It must be the opinion polls," he told Europe 1 radio.

    "She's finishing in violence, in a certain state of feverishness," he later told reporters during a trip to the Alps.

    "When I hear her remarks, I wonder why a woman of her qualities carries such violent feelings. It adds nothing to the debate."

    Sarkozy topped the first round vote on April 22 with 31.2 per cent of the ballot against 25.9 per cent for Royal.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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