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French Voters Cast Ballots in Presidential Polls

The French go to the polls Sunday in a second round of voting to decide who will be the country's next president. Last month, socialist Segolene Royal and conservative Nicholas Sarkozy were chosen for the runoff from a field of 12 candidates.

Royal, who trailed Sarkozy after the first round by 2 million votes and has been consistently behind in the polls, has spent the last two weeks trying to make up that deficit.

During that time, the candidates' differing styles, personalities and visions for France's future have been clearly on display on the campaign trail. Both are trying to attract the 7 million voters who cast their ballots for centrist candidate Francois Bayrou, who finished third in the first round of voting.

Sarkozy advocates less government control over the economy, while Royal has stressed ensuring a fairer society where everyone has an equal chance.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.