President Nicolas Sarkozy overtook Socialist challenger Francois Hollande for the first time on Tuesday in an opinion poll on the first round of France’s April-May election after attacking the European Union’s trade and immigration policies.
The conservative incumbent was still shown losing to Hollande in a second-round runoff, but by a narrower margin.
Sarkozy’s poll boost came as far-right leader Marine Le Pen, ranked third in polls, said she had secured the 500 official sponsors needed to enter the presidential contest.
Candidates have until Friday to obtain the requisite backing of 500 elected officials to compete in the April 22 first round, after which the two frontrunners face off in a May 6 runoff.
A failure by Le Pen to gather enough signatures could have rocked expectations, given her 16 percent support level.
In a morale boost for Sarkozy, who has trailed Hollande in polls for months, an Ifop/Fiducial survey put his first-round score at 28.5 percent, up from 27 percent at the end of February and overtaking Hollande, whose score slipped to 27 percent from 28.5 percent previously.Continue Reading on www.reuters.com