- French conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy has narrowly lost to Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in the first round of the president election.
- Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hollande will now go into a run-off vote on 6 May.
- The far right's Marine Le Pen took around a fifth of the vote while the far left's Jean-Luc Melenchon won 12%, and the centrist Francois Bayrou took 9%, based on incomplete estimates.
- The country has been led by conservative presidents for 17 years, since the Socialist Francois Mitterrand stood down in 1995.
- With France the world's fifth-largest economy and a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, the final outcome of the election may have an impact far beyond the eurozone.
- All times in BST (France: BST+1)
- Patrick Jackson
Last updated 4 May 2012Share
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