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Monday, 23 April 2012 - 7:11
Hollande beats Sarkozy in French vote as far-right surges
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Socialist challenger Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of France's presidential election yesterday, with a resurgent far-right emerging as possible kingmakers in the run-off.

As expected, Hollande and the wounded right-wing incumbent will now face off in the May 6th second-round, but the big surprise of the night was the record score for anti-immigrant, anti-EU flag-bearer Marine Le Pen.

Hollande won between 28 and 29 per cent of the vote in the first round, to Sarkozy's 25.5 to 27, and Le Pen won a best-ever 18 to 20 per cent, according to estimates compiled from ballot samples by several polling agencies.

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