Friday 15 December 2017

Sarkozy goes down fighting as he attacks media bias

Henry Samuel in Paris

Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to quit politics if he loses the presidency tomorrow, but he's not bowing out without a fight.

Mr Sarkozy and his supporters laid into the country's media yesterday, claiming journalists were in "alliance" with Francois Hollande, the Socialist front-runner, and insisting that the conservative could still win France's presidential election.

Two polls suggested Mr Hollande was heading for victory, but the gap had narrowed slightly, with voting intentions for the Socialist five to six percentage points ahead. Mr Sarkozy insisted that the fierce electoral race would end up far closer than polls predict.

"You cannot imagine to what extent it will end up on a razor edge on Sunday," he said, claiming a "silent majority" would rise up at the last moment.

And he warned the voters against electing Mr Hollande. "I don't think anyone wants France to be in the situation that Spain is in today, after seven years of Socialist government."

Unemployment in Spain recently hit almost 24.5pc.

Mr Hollande called on the French to give him an "ample victory". "If the French people must make a choice, they should do so clearly, overwhelmingly, so the winner has the capacity and means to act."

Sides

In a separate development, Mr Hollande's camp called the US embassy to discuss a photograph of Barack Obama in a Sarkozy campaign video. The embassy said the US government "does not support any candidate".

Mr Sarkozy has so far failed to win sufficient support from those who backed Marine Le Pen, the National Front candidate, in round one despite incessant overtures to the far-Right.

Firing in all directions before the end of campaigning last night, the Sarkozy camp attacked "biased" media for its woes. Two presenters of France's rolling news channel, BFM TV, were attacked by Sarkozy supporters to taunts of "collaborators" at a rally in Toulon on Thursday.

Ruth Elkrief and co-presenter Thierry Arnaud were hit by water bottles, one striking Mr Arnaud in the face. Mr Sarkozy apologised for the incident, but added: "I would like everyone to also understand the attitude of people who are exasperated by a form of intolerance or bias [in French media]."

The head of his UMP party, Jean-Francois Cope, said: "We have witnessed a veritable denial of democracy [in media coverage of this campaign]. It's not normal that [reports] are so negative each time they speak of Nicolas Sarkozy." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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