epa03144545 Francois Hollande, Socialist Party candidate for the 2012 French presidential election attends a meeting with union representatives in Marseille, southern France, 14 March 2012. French President Nicolas Sarkozy topped an opinion poll for the first time 13 March, ahead of the first round of presidential elections next month. Sarkozy secured 28.5 per cent of those polled, against 27 per cent for Socialist challenger Francois Hollande and 16 per cent for Le Pen in the survey conducted by Ifop Institute. Hollande had previously led all creditable polls. The new poll indicated, however, that the president would lose to Hollande in the second round of voting, securing just 45.5 per cent in a two-way race. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO
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