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France goes to polls to elect new president

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France votes Sunday in the second round of presidential elections, with right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal running for the president's office.
PARIS, May 6 (RIA Novosti) - France votes Sunday in the second round of presidential elections, with right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal running for the president's office.

Sarkozy gathered 31.2% of the electors' votes in the first round of the presidential elections April 22 while Royal collected 25.9%.

Known for his heavy handed policies on security and migration, Sarkozy suppressed riots in ethnically mixed suburbs in 2005, when he served as interior minister in Jacques Chirac's government. This made him a hugely unpopular figure with France's North African communities, with many feeling they were being treated like second-class citizens.

Socialist Royal, who could become France's first woman president if she wins Sunday's ballot, took a combative line in a live televised debate with Sarkozy May 2, prompting her rival to question if she was cool enough to run the country. She attacked him for not doing enough to provide better social care and public services for the French, and criticized his liberal economic agenda.

A public opinion poll released by the TNS Sofres agency Friday gave Sarkozy as much as 54.5%, compared with 45.5% for Royal. An IPSOS rating showed him at 54%, against 46% for his left-wing opponent. And a CSA-Cisco survey commissioned by Le Parisien daily suggested the right-wing frontrunner will collect 53%.

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