French vote in runoff to choose a president

French voters go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president, with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy fighting an uphill battle against the Socialist Party challenger, Francois Hollande.

In many ways, political experts say Sunday’s run-off election is a classic right-wing/left-wing showdown in French politics.

But Dominique Moisi, senior adviser to the French Institute of International Affairs in Paris, says there is another element in this presidential campaign — a clash of personalities.

“If you want to caricature that a little bit, it’s between a man who is perceived as too much, Nicolas Sarkozy, and a man who may be perceived as not enough, Francois Hollande,” said Moisi.

It is a battle, he adds, between a man whose energy is remarkable, incredible, Sarkozy, but whose nervousness or political opportunism makes people uneasy.

“So there is a personal rejection of Nicolas Sarkozy that makes this election something unique,” Moisi concluded.

After five years in office, Sarkozy is also seen by many French citizens as not delivering on his promises, especially in the area of economics.

Latest public opinion surveys indicate that barring a miracle, Sarkozy will lose the presidency Sunday to the Socialist Party candidate.

Experts predict that Sarkozy will not even get solid support from the followers of the extreme right wing National Front Party led by Marine Le Pen.

Five years ago, Sarkozy won considerable support from the National Front, but experts say he has alienated many of its followers by not delivering on his promises, including one to curb immigration.

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