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Pre-Election Survey Indicates Sarkozy Will Win French Presidency in Runoff

A new poll in France indicates conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy would beat Socialist hopeful Segolene Royal in a second round presidential runoff.

Results of the public opinion survey predicts front-runners Sarkozy and Royal will be the top two candidates in Sunday's first round of presidential balloting, and that Sarkozy will defeat Royal with 53 percent of the vote in a May 6 runoff. Earlier polls indicate former Interior Minister Sarkozy held a slight lead over Royal.

The new survey was released Friday as the candidates are completing their campaigns. The race is seen as a contest between the leading center-right party of Sarkozy, and center-left party of Royal, who hopes to become the first woman president in France.

Sarkozy promises law and order in the wake of last year's violence in Paris suburbs inhabited predominantly by people of North African descent. Royal has focused on traditional socialist values.

The remaining 10 candidates trail the two front-runners. However, undecided voters could decide the election outcome, with 40 percent of the electorate saying they are not sure who they are going to support.

In 2002, far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen defeated Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin to face President Jacques Chirac in the run-off election.

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