France's Bayrou Won't Endorse Candidate Francois Bayrou, the third-place candidate in last weekend's presidential election in France, had nothing good to say about his competitors in a speech Wednesday. His refusal to endorse either Nicolas Sarkozy or Segolene Royal leaves both candidates to fight it out for the remaining votes in the May 6 runoff.
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France's Bayrou Won't Endorse Candidate

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France's Bayrou Won't Endorse Candidate

France's Bayrou Won't Endorse Candidate

France's Bayrou Won't Endorse Candidate

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Francois Bayrou, the third-place candidate in last weekend's presidential election in France, had nothing good to say about his competitors in a speech Wednesday. His refusal to endorse either Nicolas Sarkozy or Segolene Royal leaves both candidates to fight it out for the remaining votes in the May 6 runoff.

ALEX COHEN, Host:

Now the two are fighting over the seven million votes of the man who came in third. That would be the centrist candidate Francois Bayrou. Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Now Bayrou's seven million voters could be crucial in deciding who will be the next president of France. Today Bayrou gave his advice in a highly anticipated, nationally televised press conference.

M: What we are in for is more disappointment and paralysis. Given the situation, I will give no sign to my voters on how to vote. They are free to make their own decision.

BEARDSLEY: Both candidates have been vigorously courting Bayrou's voters. But they are especially crucial to Segolene Royal, says pollster Bruno Jeanbart.

M: So that's the first difficulty. And the second problem for her is the fact that many people who come from the left and vote for Francois Bayrou did it because they don't like Segolene Royal.

BEARDSLEY: Jeanbart says Royal will benefit from the anyone but Sarkozy vote to a certain extent. But she cannot rely only on that. She now has 12 days to prove she has a viable program and that she would make a good president.

(SOUNDBITE OF BAYROU SUPPORTERS)

BEARDSLEY: Twenty-seven year old Vincent Pinoit(ph) said he would not so much vote for Royal as against Sarkozy.

M: He wants - he wants (unintelligible) everything first. And the way the (unintelligible) police and policing everything, I think it's kind of a sense of authority. And it's scary for me.

BEARDSLEY: But it's going to be close. The latest polls show only two points separating the candidates. For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

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