Royal and Sarkozy prepare for run-off

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Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy will face the socialist Segolene Royal in the run-off for the French presidency.

The pair will restart their campaigns to the electorate today with Mr Sarkozy canvassing in Dijon while Ms Royal heads to the southern city of Valence, kicking off two weeks of intensive campaigning.

A second round of voting will now begin on May 6th.

Mr Sarkozy gained well in the first election with 31 per cent of the vote while Ms Royal received 25 per cent of the ballot papers in one of France's highest turn-outs – 85 per cent of the electorate turned out for yesterday's ballot.

Centre-placed politician Francois Bayrou received 18.5 per cent and, positioned on the far-right, Jean-Marie Le Pen received 10.5 per cent, an indicator which will continue to worry the more left-inclined in the country.

With his hardline stance on immigration, pro-death penalty policies and belief in compulsory military service, many political analysts predicted that a fear of far-right success for Mr Le Pen would spark many centre and left-leaning voters to ensure they partake in the upcoming elections, perhaps accounting for the exceptionally high turnout among France's notoriously unpredictable voters.

Current president Jacques Chirac announced last month that he would not run for re-election. The 74-year-old politician has served in the role for 12 years.

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