France election: Last day of campaigning

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PARIS. April 20. KAZINFORM Candidates in the French presidential election are on their last day of campaigning before voters head to the polls on Sunday, according to BBC.

No campaigning is allowed the day before the election.

Front-runner Francois Hollande has already held a final rally in Bordeaux, while President Nicolas Sarkozy will hold his last campaign event in Nice.

Polls show the two men neck-and-neck, but Socialist candidate Mr Hollande is expected to win a run-off vote.

The far-right candidate Marine le Pen could take around 17% of the vote, while left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon has come from behind to see poll ratings at 14-15%.

Centrist Francois Bayrou is likely to come in fifth place.

With only one day of campaigning to go, polls suggest nearly one in four voters have yet to make up their minds in what is being called the closest-run French election for decades.

The first round of the French elections will be held on Sunday and - provided no candidate gets an absolute majority - a run-off between the two top candidates will be take place on 6 May.

Economic focus

Campaigning has focused on the economy, with Mr Sarkozy boasting of good economic growth in 2011 but struggling with unemployment at 10%.

Both leading candidates have promised to balance the budget, but Francois Hollande has emphasised his focus on growth rather than austerity.

Earlier in the week, Mr Hollande said he would not endorse the EU fiscal compact if it fails to promote growth.

The agreement on ensuring budget discipline among EU states is meant to be approved by January and has been championed by President Sarkozy.

Speaking at a rally on Thursday night, Mr Hollande warned his supporters that there was still a long way to go to win the race.

"Three more days, and then if we deserve it, two weeks of campaigning until the second round. This will be a hard, bitter and sometimes brutal battle," he said.

Addressing a crowd of thousands, he referred to Mr Sarkozy as the "departing candidate".

"I want to profoundly reform my country: engage in a tax reform for justice, a reform of the banks to dominate the finance world, a territorial reform to create a new decentralisation policy, a reform of justice to make it independent," he said.

If Mr Hollande does win, he will become the country's first socialist president for 17 years.

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