Today’s news was mixed for French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
A new poll shows him with his first-ever lead in the first-round April 22 presidential election — at 28.5% to just 27% for Partis socialiste candidate François Hollande. Hollande has a slimmer but still quite commanding second-round lead, where he polls 54.5% to Sarkozy’s 45.5% for the May 6 runoff.
Centrist François Bayrou held steady at 13%, but Front National candidate Marine Le Pen lost a point from the prior survey and Jean-Luc Mélenchon gained 1.5%, at 10% his highest poll rating to date. The shift of voters away from Le Pen (presumably to Sarkozy) and to Mélenchon (presumably away from Hollande) is more than enough to explain first-round movement between Hollande and Sarkozy.
Looming on the horizon, however, are explosive charges from Mediapart, a French investigative website, that Sarkozy illegally received over €50 million from Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2007 presidential campaign. Sarkozy has denied the charges — and snarked that if true, Gaddafi certainly didn’t get his money’s worth, as Sarkozy joined British prime minister David Cameron in the NATO-led bombing campaign against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year. The charges remain very much unsubstantiated, though. Continue reading A mixed day for Sarkozy