UK & World News
French Election Rivals' Final Plea To Voters
The two contenders in the French presidential election have made their final appeals to voters before polling stations open on Sunday.
The Socialist Party's leader Francois Hollande promised the electorate that if he won: "You will not be disappointed, you will not be forgotten. You will be defended and you will be respected."
As campaigning came to an end on Friday, polls suggested his lead over the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy had narrowed to between five and six percentage points.
The candidate is vowing to raise taxes on the wealthiest, with a 75% income tax on those earning over 1m euros.
He also wants to increase corporation tax and create tens of thousands of new public sector jobs, including 60,000 new teachers.
Mr Hollande has been buoyed by the support of the centrist Francis Bayrou, who won 9.1% of the public vote in the first round.
The current president knows he has to attract the support of those who backed the Front National leader Marine Le Pen, if he is to remain in the Elysee Palace.
He has shifted his campaign to the right, promising tighter immigration controls and removing France from the visa Schengen agreement, if internal borders were not properly policed.
Mr Sarkozy has also said that France must persist with cuts to public expenditure in order to survive the economic slowdown.
He has also warned the single currency crisis would deepen if Mr Hollande won and went ahead with his campaign promise to re-write the EU's fiscal compact to include a commitment to growth.
At a campaign rally in the coastal town of Les Sables d'Olonne, Mr Sarkozy said the contest was still too close to call.
"On Sunday, each of you, every one you has the future of our country in his hands. There is not one vote which weighs more than another," he said.
"There is the vote of each French person, male and female. First, I would like to convince you of one thing: it's that each vote will matter. On Sunday, you can't imagine how much everything will hang on a knife-edge."
Saturday is a 'day of contemplation' for French voters so, by law, all campaigning has now ceased.
The first exit polls will be released at 8pm French time, 7pm BST on Sunday evening.
One of the first acts of the new president will be to appoint a prime minister who will then call legislative elections, which will reshape the political landscape of the French parliament, the Assemblee Nationale.
what do you think?
If France withdraws from 'Schengen' does that mean less 'illegals' to come over from Calais?
Don`t bank on it. There is a " very " long queue of penniless, ever open handers waiting to get into this land of milk and honey and we are only to willing to accommodate them.
'Land of milk and honey.'? Ha! Ha! Ha!