LONDON, UK – French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ruled out any election pact between his party and the far-right National Front of Marine Le Pen, but insisted that its voters should not be demonized.
Although both Sarkozy and his Socialist Party François Hollande received more votes than Le Pen in the first round of France’s presidential elections on Sunday, Le Pen secured a record result for her party, with 18 percent support.
Hollande, who has claimed that some National Front supporters belong on the left, picked up 28.6 percent of the vote, stretching ahead of Sarkozy’s 27.1 percent.
Sarkozy will to need win a large portion of the 6.4 million votes that went to Le Pen if he is to prevail in a head-to-head with Hollande at an election runoff on May 6.
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According to Reuters, polls show that two-thirds of Sarkozy supporters want the president to break with past policy and strike a deal with the National Front.
Speaking on France Info radio Wednesday, Sarkozy said there would be “no pact with the National Front,” and went on to state that there were too many issues on which the National Front and his Union for a Popular Movement disagreed to envisage giving the far-rightists cabinet positions, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“There will be no National Front Ministers, but I refuse to demonize men and women who, in voting for Marine Le Pen, cast a crisis vote, a vote of anger, a vote of suffering and a vote of despair. I have to listen to their message and take them into account, and not think it’s time to hold my nose.”
Le Pen is not expected to outline her position as regards the runoff until next week, when she addresses a rally of National Front supporters on May 1, the BBC reports.