Paris Nicolas Sarkozy apologised for his mis-steps Friday, the final day of campaigning in France's presidential election, while his main rival Francois Hollande was increasingly confident of victory.
The latest polls ahead of tomorrow's first round point to a resounding win for the Socialist in the May 6 run-off against Sarkozy, dogged by criticism his flashy and overbearing style lowered the standing of France's head of state.
"Perhaps the mistake I made at the start of my mandate is not understanding the symbolic dimension of the president's role and not being solemn enough in my acts," a contrite Sarkozy told RTL radio. "A mistake for which I would like to apologise or explain myself and which I will not make again," he said, insisting: "Now, I know the job."
The latest survey before campaigning and opinion polls were to be banned last night said Hollande would win 29 per cent of votes to Sarkozy's 25.5 per cent before the pair meet head-on in the second round.
Hollande is on course to win the final vote 56 per cent to the right-winger's 44 per cent, polling organisation Ipsos forecast.