Voting to Begin in French Election

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Voting begins Sunday morning in the second and final round of France’s presidential election, in which the socialist François Hollande leads President Nicolas Sarkozy by a narrow margin in the polls. Hollande came out of the first round of voting leading by just 2 percentage points. Both candidates appealed to supporters of the far-right Marine Le Pen, who took a surprising 20 percent of the vote in the first round. Hollande and Sarkozy dueled in a bitter three-hour debate last Wednesday that featured a colorful display of shouting and name-calling. The election has been closely watched by European leaders who fear Hollande’s promises to resist Germany-imposed austerity measures on the continent’s struggling nations. Hollande would be France’s first socialist president since 1988.