Hollande has received the support of a prominent centrist who won 9 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections, Francois Bayrou. Bayrou said Thursday night he would not give his voters specific guidance for Sunday's vote â¿¿ but that he will cast a ballot for Hollande.

Sarkozy's critics have often faulted him for his brash style, alleged chumminess with the rich, and inability to reverse France's tough economic fortunes and nearly double-digit jobless rate.

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Jamey Keaten in Tulle, France, and Paolo Santalucia, Sarah DiLorenzo and Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report.

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