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Hollande: I'll give foreigners the vote

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11:18 CEST+02:00

Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande said Wednesday that if elected he will next year give foreigners from outside the EU living in France the right to vote in local elections.

His rival President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has said there are "too many foreigners in France" and vows to reduce immigration, staunchly opposes giving voting rights to non-European Union foreigners.

Hollande, who is tipped to win the final round of the election on May 6, said in a television interview he planned the reform for next year so that non-EU foreigners would be able to vote in municipal elections in 2014.

Nationals from EU countries can already vote in local elections in France.

Hollande, whose campaign programme says foreigners living in France for five years should be allowed to vote, noted that Sarkozy in 2008 said he was "intellectually favourable" to giving non-EU nationals the right to vote.

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Sarkozy and Hollande are battling for the six million votes that went to the far right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election.

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