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Hollande seeks to woo far-right voters

April 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM
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PARIS, April 24 (UPI) -- French Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande said he'll seek to woo voters who cast ballots for the far-right candidate in the first round.

Hollande, in an interview published Tuesday in the left-leaning Liberation daily, spoke of his strategy to win over those who voted for National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, France 24 reported.

"There is a part of Le Pen electorate that comes from the left … who are against privilege, against globalization, against a Europe that doesn't work. It's up to me to convince them that it is the left that will defend them," Hollande said.

Hollande spoke of National Front voters in a "suffering electorate, made up of low-paid workers, manual staff and workers who feel like they've been abandoned."

Hollande won by a slimmer margin than predicted Sunday, capturing 28.63 percent of votes to 27.18 percent for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and 17.9 percent for Le Pen, a record for her anti-immigration party.

France 24 said polls this week showed 45 percent-60 percent of those who voted for Le Pen would vote for Sarkozy in the runoff, while 18 percent-20 percent of those who voted for her would cast ballots for Hollande. Radio France Internationale reported Sarkozy would need about 80 percent of the FN vote to win re-election.

Sarkozy has called for three debates before the second round instead of the traditional one debate.

In a speech after results were released Sunday, Sarkozy tried to tap into the concerns of right-wing voters, Radio France Internationale reported.

"These anxieties, this suffering, I know them, I understand them," Sarkozy said. "They are about respecting our borders, the determined fight against job relocation, controlling immigration, putting value on work, on security."

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