May 6 - French nationals living abroad cast a ballot in the second round of presidential elections. Julie Noce reports.
From the U.S. to Argentina-- and everywhere in between-- French nationals living abroad are casting their ballots for either Francois Hollande or incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy as the second round of presidential voting gets underway. In Japan, voters filed into the French embassy in Tokyo. In a rainy Hanoi, Vietnam, a similar drill.... and in Hong Kong voters made their choice at the international school. And in Sydney Australia, where there are about 15,000 French expats, opinions were mixed. (SOUNDBITE)(French) SYDNEY RESIDENT, PATRICK SULLA-MARSA SAYING: ''I voted for continuity and consistency because I think Mr Sarkozy has started some very good work and I think we need to give him more time so he can continue it." (SOUNDBITE)(French) SYDNEY RESIDENT, OLIVIER BIZIEN SAYING: "I decided to vote left because I think the left represents what is different about France from a lot of other countries and I think its important that we maintain this difference." According to recent polls, the presumptive winner will be Hollande, leaving incumbent Sarkozy a one term leader. Hollande has held steady in recent weeks on promises to raise taxes on high earners, and to finance spending and keep the public deficit capped. He's also riding the wave of anti-Sarkozy sentiment. Often seen as showy and arrogant-- French citizens are fed up with Sarkozy over stagnant unemployment rates and general economic malaise. If Hollande does win, he'll have his work cut out for him. While other euro-zone economies are looking for him to reign in his over-optimistic growth forecasts by making spending cuts, analysts say that may be difficult as left-wing voters are hoping instead for increased minimum wages and a reversal on a sales-tax hike. Holland would be the country's first Socialist president in 17 years. Julie Noce, Reuters