PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a last-ditch appeal to
far-right voters on Thursday after failing to land a knockout blow in a
heated televised debate with Socialist rival Francois Hollande before
Sunday's decisive runoff.
Hollande, ahead in opinion polls by six to 10 points, was calm and
unflappable during the nearly three-hour debate on Wednesday while the
conservative Sarkozy, struggling to catch up with the moderate social
democrat, was often agitated and tense.
Commentators said the confrontation, watched by 17.8 million people out
of an electorate of 44.5 million, was no game-changer and probably only
reinforced voters' opinions in a contest that has been as much about
style and personality as substance.
"It was a draw but as Mr Hollande started as favorite, he remains the
favorite," wrote Francoise Fressoz in an editorial in Le Monde. "Mr
Sarkozy did not manage to destabilize him, which was his objective from
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