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Sarkozy Moves Ahead in Poll for French Presidential Race

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (file photo)
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (file photo)

President Nicolas Sarkozy has overtaken Socialist challenger Francois Hollande for the first time in an opinion poll on this year's presidential election.

The poll showed that Mr. Sarkozy could beat Hollande in the first round of the vote April 22, but would still lose to him in a second-round runoff May 6.  Mr. Sarkozy has also narrowed that margin by a few points.

The French president has gained the advantage after attacking the European Union's trade and immigration policies in a rally Sunday.

Earlier Tuesday, far-right French political leader Marine Le Pen said she had won enough official support to become a candidate in next month's presidential election.  She said she had obtained the required backing of 500 elected French officials.

Le Pen heads the ultra-conservative National Front party, known for its fierce anti-immigration policies.  The party has recently backed-away from its harsh rhetoric, targeting foreigners, to focus on the euro and the economy.  Penn's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was a far-right French leader for decades.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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