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ELECTION

Strauss-Kahn trouble fails to boost Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election hopes have failed to improve despite the sex scandal that felled his main challenger Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a new poll showed Sunday.

The IFOP poll published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche showed Sarkozy winning 22 percent of first-round voting intentions, trailing behind the leading opposition Socialist contender Francois Hollande with 26 percent.

Until mid-May, the favourite to win the 2012 French election was Dominique Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK, the Socialist who led the IMF until New York police arrested him on sexual assault and attempted rape charges.

Sunday’s poll showed that Hollande, a former leader of the Socialist Party, had gained three points since IFOP’s last survey and moved firmly into the lead.

It showed the right-wing president was still facing a threat from Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party.

Le Pen would score 21 percent to Sarkozy’s 22 in the first round of voting if Hollande runs for the Socialists, and would beat him 22 percent to 21.5 if Socialist leader Martine Aubry ran instead of Hollande, the poll showed.

“Although the DSK affair has flummoxed the public and sparked a burst of feminism, the French do not seem to have decided, at least for now, to offer Nicolas Sarkozy a second presidential term,” the newspaper wrote.

France’s former president Jacques Chirac, who was Sarkozy’s mentor before falling out with him, surprised journalists on Saturday by saying he would vote for Hollande. He later insisted he was joking.

UKRAINE

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

The French government aims to have its natural gas storage reserves at full capacity by autumn, with European countries bracing for supply cuts from major supplier Russia as the Ukraine war continues, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

“We are ensuring the complete filling of our storage capacities, aiming to be close to 100 percent by early autumn,” and France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship, Borne said.

France is much less dependant on Russian gas than its neighbours, and announced earlier this week that it has not received any Russian gas by pipeline since June 15th.

Meanwhile Germany moved closer to rationing natural gas on Thursday as it raised the alert level under an emergency plan after Russia slashed supplies to the country.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at a press conference.

French PM Borne on Thursday also confirmed that the bouclier tarifaire (price shield) will remain in pace until the end of 2022 – this freezes the price of household gas and limits rises in electricity bills for homes to four percent.

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