Attack on EU immigration policies gives Sarkozy a much-needed election boost
Nicolas Sarkozy has bounced back in the French presidential election polls after launching an attack on European Union immigration policies.
With the first of two rounds of voting due to take place on April 22, it is a morale boost for the current president who has been widely predicted to lose.
In the poll, 28.5 per cent of voters said they would back him in the first round, with 27 per cent opting for his main rival, Socialist Francois Hollande.
However, there was still bad news for Mr Sarkozy as the poll revealed that at the second round of voting on May 6, which is expected to be a head-to-head battle between Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hollande, the latter would win with 54.5 per cent.
As in the 2007 presidential election, Mr Sarkozy is trying to woo Right-wing supporters by hammering away on immigration, security and trade protection.
During recent campaign speeches he has also demanded greater protection of Europe’s internal borders and threatened to pull out of the Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free movement between most European Union nations, in a bid to almost halve the number of immigrants arriving in France.
However, Mr Sarkozy’s threats yesterday pushed Germany to issue a public rebuke, in a sign of growing concern in Berlin with the tone of his re-election campaign.
But such tough words appeal to traditional followers of France’s Right-wing National Front (FN) party, led by Marine Le Pen, many of whom are believed to have switched to Mr Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party.
Mr Sarkozy’s poll boost came as Miss Le Pen, who is ranked third in the polls, said she had secured the 500 signatures that are needed from elected local mayors to enter the presidential race.