Voting to Begin in French Election

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.