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Sun Apr 22, 2012, 02:39 PM

Hollande Tops Sarkozy in French Vote, Le Pen Surges [View all]

Source: Reuters

Hollande tops Sarkozy in French vote, Le Pen surges

By Catherine Bremer and Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS | Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:21pm EDT

By Catherine Bremer and Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS (Reuters) - Far-rightist Marine Le Pen threw France's presidential race wide open on Sunday by scoring nearly 20 percent in the first round - votes that may determine the runoff between Socialist favorite Francois Hollande and conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hollande led Sarkozy by about 29 to 26 percent in reliable computer projections broadcast after polling stations closed, and the two will meet in a head-to-head decider on May 6.

But Le Pen's record score of 18-20 percent was the sensation of the night, beating her father's 2002 result and outpolling hard leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, in fourth place on 11 percent. Centrist Francois Bayrou finished fifth on less than 10 percent.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE83I0EZ20120422?irpc=932

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