French President, Socialist Rival Will Face Off in Election
(PARIS) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy won the first battle on Sunday to keep his job, but things don't look as promising two weeks from now.
The deeply unpopular Sarkozy will face Francois Hollande in a run-off election on May 6 that most political pundits assume will be won by the Socialist candidate after he barely bested Sarkozy in Sunday's contest, 28.5 percent to 27 percent. It's the first time an incumbent has placed second in the first round.
Sarkozy and Hollande fended off eight other challengers of various political stripes in an election that featured a lower turnout than in 2007 when Sarkozy took office.
Hollande promises to balance France’s budget woes and boost employment even as economic critics worry that he’ll increase spending programs for the poor.
Just like many incumbents from around the world, Sarkozy has been victimized by his country's economic downturn. However, unlike President Obama, who is personally popular despite receiving less than stellar job approval ratings, many Frenchmen just don't like Sarkozy, partly because of his flamboyant lifestyle that includes his marriage to former model and jet-setter Carla Bruni.
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