France 2012: Sarkozy closes campaign in Nice: 'Mobilise!'

Homage to Carla 'an Italian who has become French'

20 April, 20:17

Nicolas Sarkozy 2012 election campaign Nicolas Sarkozy 2012 election campaign

(ANSAmed) - NICE (FRANCE) - Perhaps this final rally was the most difficult of all. Two days ahead of the first-round vote, Nicolas Sarkozy has closed an electoral campaign in Nice this evening that has proved to be an increasingly steep uphill struggle. Campaigning against a Francois Hollande who seems destined to win and eject him from the Elysee Paliace. The final scene has seen an emotional Sarkozy, who praised his wife Carla and with her, her predecessor as France's First Lady, Bernadette Chirac.

The atmosphere inside Nice's Palasport Nikaia was not a particularly celebratory one before the President arrived.

Buried in an avalanche of polls that at best put Sarkozy on level pegging with Hollande in the first round, but all of which see him lose on the final one. The 7 to 8 thousand supporters present tried in vain to generate some euphoria when the head of the UMP party, Jean-Francois Cope' or the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi took the stage. Only the arrival of Sarkozy managed to break some of the ice in the air, but the President's speech, which ran through the main themes of his campaign, was a little muted. Muted, that is, until it began to draw to its end.

Almost as if in a last desperate rush, Sarkozy raised the emotional tone at this point, speaking with arms widespread of the France he wanted to lead through the coming five years: an 'open' France, because it would be a ''strong France'' that need have no fear of welcoming others. The came the themes of ''nation'', ''frontier'' and other touchstones of the French right. This was followed by a homage to Bernadette Chirac, whose presence had ''reunited the family'' and had ''stilled the lies'': an explicit reference to news reports that Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac would be voting for Francois Hollande in the spirit of past bad blood between the two presidents.

Following this came the homage to Carla,''the Italian who has become French'' and who ''is an honour to France''.

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