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Fiji Time: 1:40 AM on Friday 19 September

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Hollande leads presidential race

Serelisoni Moceica
Thursday, May 03, 2012

THE majority of votes cast at the French Embassy in Suva have swayed towards French socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande followed closely by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The trend of voting here reflects the trend in France, according to embassy officials.

French Ambassador Gilles Montagnier said a total of 52 French nationals over the age of 18 cast their votes in the first round of elections on Sunday, April 22.

"The number is almost half the total of 107 French nationals registered with the embassy. Voting is not compulsory in France, so people always have the choice to vote or not," Mr Montagnier said.

He said despite this, the presidential elections were always of major interest with about 80 per cent of the French territories casting their votes at every election.

The Vice-Consul of the French Embassy, Alexandre Raugel, said: "For French nationals who live on the outer islands and find it hard to fly all the way to Suva, we have to get their mandates and cast their votes for them at the voting booth here in the embassy. I fly all the way over there to get their mandates and put in their votes for them."

Mr Montagnier said the system was based on trust. "We don't influence their votes, they can vote for whoever they like," he said.

The second and final round of elections will be held on Sunday, May 6 with voting closing at 6pm.

Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are both in the running with socialist Hollande polling more votes than President Sarkozy in the initial round.


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