French presidential election forerunners Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande are giving an extra push to woo potential supporters, ahead of the first round of voting slated for this Sunday.
Fans listen to the speech of France's incumbent President and UMP ruling party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election during a meeting, in Bompas, near the southern city of Perpignan, on April 14, 2012, as part of his campaign. Slogan on poster reads: "Strong France." [Xinhua]
With latest polls suggesting Hollande leading Sarkozy in both the first round this weekend and the May 6 final runoff, the incumbent president's spokeswoman Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet insisted that the election result was still uncertain.
Surveys show about a quarter of voters still have not decided whom they would vote for.
"The pollsters themselves say they have never seen such an uncertain campaign with so little time to go," Kosciusko-Morizet told a local newspaper, adding that the proportion of voters who say they could change their minds was extremely high.
Meanwhile, Hollande showed no sign of relenting in urging his supporters to show up for Sunday's vote, fearing a low turn-out would benefit Sarkozy.
"Nothing is certain and nobody can tell what the final order and scores will be," Hollande told BFM television on Thursday, expressing concerns that positive predictions could lead supporters choose not to cast their ballots.
Most polls show Hollande to win the support of 26 to 29 percent of French voters in the first round of election on April 22, followed by Sarkozy with 24 to 28 percent of support.
However, in the decisive May 6 runoff, Hollande could sercure 56 percent of support while only 44 percent of voters would support Sarkozy, according to a survey published on Thursday by pollster LH2.
As the election race pick up pace, economic issues weigh heavily in the decision-making of French voters facing a lackluster economic growth, a rising trade deficit, a 13-year-high unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, and a daunting public finance record.
Sarkozy, whose momentum in the aftermath of a murder spree in southern France by a self-proclaimed al Qaeda-linked gunman in March seems to be losing steam, is at pains to remind voters of his crisis management, stressing his leading role in the fight against eurozone debt crisis.
Hollande, for his part, focuses on tax hikes over spending cuts, and vows to renegotiate the newly-inked eurozone fiscal pact to seek more growth-promoting measures.
Both the two leading candidates promised to cut public deficit from 5.2 percent of national output to about 4.5 percent this year and down to 3 percent next year.
Voters will cast their ballots from 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Sunday to 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) across France, with two extra hours in big cities.