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Sarkozy Says No Deal With Far Right

  • RFE/RL

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

President Nicolas Sarkozy says that if he is elected to a second term as French president, he will not pursue a political accord with the far right.

But Sarkozy also said that those who voted for the far-right National Front in the first-round presidential election on April 22 should not be "demonized."

The conservative Sarkozy finished second in the election with 27.2 percent. He will compete in the second round against Socialist Francois Hollande, who won 28.6 percent.

Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate, did not advance to the runoff but came in third with a surprising 18 percent.

Ahead of the May 6 runoff, Sarkozy and Hollande are both trying to secure the support of those who voted for Le Pen.

Sarkozy, speaking on French radio, said that if he is elected, "there would be no deal" with the National Front and "no [National Front] ministers" in his cabinet.

But he said he would listen to those who voted for the anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front.

"There will be no deal with the National Front. There will be no ministers from the National Front," he said. "But I refuse to demonize men and women who, by casting a vote for Marine Le Pen, have expressed a crisis vote, an anger vote, a suffering vote, a vote of desperation. I have to take them into account. I have to listen to them and to hear them."

Hollande says those who voted for Le Pen's party had expressed "social anger" and wanted to punish Sarkozy for his policies.

Hollande also has said he would listen to their concerns and defend them from "financial globalization and a failing Europe."

Hollande on April 24 campaigned in an industrial area in the north of the country where Le Pen won more votes than Sarkozy in the first round.

Sarkozy, at a rally of his supporters in Paris on the same day, said he would protect "the French way of life" by reducing immigration and encouraging hard work.

Le Pen has pledged to give her "opinion" to supporters on who -- if any of the candidates -- to back in the runoff. Aides have said she is unlikely to endorse either candidate.

Opinion polls have indicated Hollande could win the runoff with as much as 55 percent of the vote.

With reporting by AFP and "Le Figaro"
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