Sarkozy Says Must Respond to Far-Right Votersإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday reached out to the 18 percent of voters who backed far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France's first-round vote, saying an "answer must be given" to their concerns.
"We must respect the voters' will, it is our duty to listen," Sarkozy told journalists. "There was this crisis vote that doubled from one election to another, an answer must be given to this crisis vote."
Le Pen's score Sunday was nearly double the 10.4 percent her father Jean-Marie took as the National Front (FN) candidate in the 2007 first round.
Sarkozy also went on the offensive with a challenge to Hollande, who won the first round with 28.63 percent to 27.08 percent for Sarkozy, not to refuse his proposal for three televised debates before the May 6 second round.
"This is about debating before the French people, project against project, personality against personality, experience against experience. The French people have a right to know, Mr. Hollande must not run away."
Sarkozy proposed the three debates on Sunday but Hollande said one would be enough.
"He must take his responsibilities, as I will take mine," Sarkozy said.
"This is a crucial moment; the French people must have all the facts to make a choice. I will not run away, I will not hide and if Mr. Hollande hides, that will be his responsibility."