April 22 - The front-runner in France's presidential election, Francois Hollande, greets crowds in his hometown as the country heads to the polls. Andrew Raven reports.
Francois Hollande, the front-runner in France's presidential election, greets crowds in his hometown of Tulle. The Socialist leader is vying to unseat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy as people across France head to polls today. As Europe struggles through a financial crisis, he said the vote is among the most important in recent history. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE SOCIALIST PARTY FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "This French election, the choice for the next president of the Republic, is not only a national election. This is an election that will influence the course of Europe." Hollande has promised to eliminate France's deficit by 2017, in part by raising taxes on the rich. He is trying to become France's first left wing president since Francois Mitterand, who came to office in 1981. Opinion polls show him leading the race, with Sarkozy a distant second. If that holds, the two would face off in a second round of voting next month. Andrew Raven, Reuters