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Hollande ahead in second round polls

Hollande is almost 10 points ahead of Sarkozy; meanwhile we look at some hitches that cropped up with first round votes

SOCIALIST François Hollande is eight to nine percentage points ahead of Sarkozy in the presidential election polls.

According to the latest surveys of second round voting intentions, Hollande is set to get 54% or 54.5% of the votes, compared to Sarkozy’s 45.5% or 46%.

However the two surveys, by CSA and BMV gave contradictory views on trends.

According to CSA, since Sunday’s first round Sarkozy has reduced the gap by 4%, mainly by attracting a greater percentage of those who voted for the centrist party MoDem’s François Bayrou (intentions said to be up 11% in favour of Sarkozy, to 36%). The survey group said this was due to the president-candidate’s increased “visibility”.

BVA found, on the contrary, that Hollande had pulled three points ahead. Its director stated that this was due to Sarkozy’s too blatant attempts to capture the Front National’s vote – only 47% are said to support Sarkozy now instead of 57% last Sunday.

The second round will be on May 6.

Meanwhile, the first round results have been rubber stamped by the Conseil Constitutionnel, which reported it had gone without any “major incidents”.

However all did not go completely to plan at certain polling stations, which had votes cast at them annulled because of failures to follow proper procedures to ensure fairness and confidentiality.

At Bourg-d’Oueil in Haute-Garonne, for example, the 19 votes cast had to be annulled because there was found to have been no voting booth; while in Anglet in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques 833 votes were annulled at station 18 because the count took place in private.

At station 67 in Limoges 920 votes were scrapped because voting slips for one of the candidates were provided too late.

Le Parisien has flagged up the case of Etréchy (Essonne), where the mayor has admitted handwriting many voting slips because they ran out – which is contrary to the rules, though the case has not been subject to official scrutiny.

In Moselle there is controversy after a candidate was found to have voted twice, in his former home town by proxy and in his new place of residence.

The Conseil Constitutionnel has, however, rejected claims that votes for certain candidates should be scrapped because their correct, full, names were not on the slips, such as those of Gro Eva Farseth (Franco-Norwegian Green candidate Eva Joly), Marion Anne Perrine Le Pen, or Nicolas Sarkozy de Nagy-Bosca.

As there was no possible confusion as to the candidates this would problem could not have “led the electorate into error”, officials said.

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