France’s Sarkozy rules out deal with far right | Pakistan Today

France’s Sarkozy rules out deal with far right

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday ruled out any pact with Marine Le Pen’s National Front after its electoral breakthrough but insisted far-right supporters should not be demonised. As Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande accused Sarkozy of going too far to “seduce” the far right, European Union president Herman Van Rompuy condemned “winds of populism” which he warned were blowing across Europe. Hollande won the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday with 28.6 percent of the vote over 27.2 percent for Sarkozy. The two will square off in a final round on May 6 that polls say the Socialist will win. But the race was shaken up by the 18 percent result of anti-immigration and anti-Europe populist Le Pen, whose score on Sunday was not enough to stay in the race but was the highest ever for a far-right candidate. Sarkozy, the first sitting French president to lose a first-round vote, has tilted further to the right since Sunday, vowing to “defend the French way of life”, drastically reduce immigration and secure France’s borders. “We need to speak to the 18 percent who voted for Marine Le Pen,” Sarkozy said in an interview Wednesday with France Info radio. “But I don’t want ministers from the National Front. I’ve never wanted that. The 18 percent who voted National Front don’t belong to me, but it’s my duty to address them,” he said. “What Mr Hollande has not understood is that we should speak to everybody. There will be no deal with the National Front, no ministers for them, but I have to take them into account and not feel I have to hold my nose.”

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