April 22 - Socialist Francois Hollande edged out French president Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of France's presidential election. Deborah Gembara reports.
French voters sent a message to president Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday ---- giving Socialist Francois Hollande a slight lead in the first round of France's elections. Hollande netted 28.46 percent of the vote to Sarkozy's 27 percent with the majority of the votes counted. In Tulle, he thanked his supporters for putting him in the top position. SOUNDBITE: Socialist candidate Francois Hollande saying (French): "This is a gesture of confidence in the proposal I made to the French to rebuild our country with justice, to perfect finances, to find growth and jobs. They have responded this evening by allowing me to be in the best position to become the next President of the republic." French President Nicolas Sarkozy must now convince voters he is the best man to lead France amid high unemployment. SOUNDBITE: French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying (French): "I call on all those who reject massive and uncontrolled public spending and who do not want France to know the same fate as so many of our European neighbors overcome today by the crisis. I will welcome all who wish to come together around my project." The day's biggest surprise came from far right candidate Marine Le Pen who secured a record 18 percent of the vote. Sarkozy and Hollande will now have to win over voters from eliminated candidates in a runoff in two weeks.