April 29 - French presidential frontrunner Hollande promises a new era for France as Sarkozy hopes to close gap ahead of May 6 election. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
At a rally Sunday, French Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande promises to give France a new impetus and lead it in the right direction. He is the clear frontrunner for May 6th election against French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Both have been courting the almost one in five voters who helped far-right candidate Marine Le Pen into third place. Hollande says he will not compromise to woo those voters. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH SOCIALIST CANDIDATE FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "Those who are made to fear a religion, who look with suspicion, yes those who want to gather because they want to believe in the Republic. I speak for all the voters, yes all the voters. I understand the suffering of many. I want to answer their call. Yes I want to reconquer the men and women who are angry and who sometimes give way, yes, a hundred times yes. But promises to compromise, a thousand times no," Sarkozy was also out on the campaign trail Sunday reaching out to far right supporters with a speech full of references to national identity and border protection. . (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY SAYING: "The border is an affirmation that everything is not of the same value, between the outside and inside, it's not the same thing. Between us and the others, there is a difference. Between, inside our homes and outside on the street, that's not the same. We don't have the same behavior. Draw a border between cultures. Draw a border between right and wrong. Draw a border between the good and the bad. Draw a border between beauty and ugliness. You know what it is. It's nothing else but the long work of a civilization." Sarkozy, whose brash personal style has alienated many conservative voters, became the first incumbent to finish second in a presidential first round vote last week. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters