PARIS - With his back against the wall, President Nicolas Sarkozy brushed off opinion polls that show he will lose France's presidential election to deliver a defiant speech three days from the first round of the vote.
The incumbent, who is forecast to lose to Socialist Francois Hollande by some 10 percentage points in a May 6 run-off, chose an affluent suburb of Paris to hold his second-to-last rally before voters head to the polls on Sunday.
In a speech that swung between whispers and roars, Sarkozy promised to halve immigration, overhaul France's unemployment scheme and push the European Union to impose tougher conditions on trade with emerging nations.
But the main thrust of his rally was an assault on opponents in the media and the so-called Parisian "caviar Left", whom he accused of having decided on the election's outcome before people had cast their votes.
"(The vote) will teach all those people a lesson like they have never been taught before," he told some 500 flag-waving supporters, without specifying whether the "lesson" might be his re-election, a higher score than polls give him or something else.
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