Suspense High in French Presidential Elections Nearly 45 million French voters are expected to cast their ballots Sunday in the first round of an election to replace President Jacques Chirac. Voter turnout — and indecision — is expected to be high.
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Suspense High in French Presidential Elections

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Suspense High in French Presidential Elections

Suspense High in French Presidential Elections

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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Eleanor Beardsley is in France. Eleanor, of all of the candidates, which one is most likely to advance to the second round, which is going to be held two weeks from now?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Well, the election is still a big surprise. One of the main newspapers, the headline today was anything can happen. But this being said, the frontrunner, Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative, is probably the most likely to make it to the second round. He's consistently been in the lead.

F: far right, anti-immigrant candidate, Jean-Marie La Pen. And while we think maybe Sarkozy will make it to the second round, we're not sure which of the other three candidates will join him.

HANSEN: Those are the candidates. What is the election all about?

BEARDSLEY: Then there's Francois Bayrou, who has been the election surprise. He's a centrist candidate. He says he wants to bring France together again. He says France has been divided between left and right for the past 30 years. He calls it a Berlin wall that has paralyzed the country. So he says he can bring out the best on both sides and make France work again.

HANSEN: Last time, the country was pretty surprised by the dark horse far right when it made it to the second round. Is that likely to happen again?

BEARDSLEY: A lot of voters are saying, we're going straight out to vote for the mainstream candidates because we don't want to see a fringe right-wing candidate make it to the second round.

HANSEN: Eleanor Beardsley in France. Eleanor, thanks a lot.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you.

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