French presidential race enters final week

April 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM
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PARIS, April 14 (UPI) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger Francois Hollande plan dueling rallies in Paris as the campaign enters its last week.

Hollande will be in the Chateau Vincennes park Sunday afternoon in a working-class district of the capital, Radio France Internationale reported. Sarkozy will be downtown in the Place de la Concorde.

The Socialist rally features a concert, which prompted Nathalie Kosciusko- Morizet, Sarkozy's spokeswoman, to ask: "Is he scared no one would turn up if he just gave a speech?"

The first round of voting on Sunday, April 22, is expected to end without a winner. While Sarkozy and Hollande are almost certain to be the top two vote-getters, neither is likely to win an absolute majority.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Communist-backed candidate of the Left Front, now appears to be running neck and neck with Marine Le Pen, candidate of the right-wing Front National.

Melenchon, who has been holding large rallies throughout the campaign, blogged that Hollande and Sarkozy are now copying him. Melenchon's weekend rally was Saturday in Marseille.

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