At least twenty million French – around half of the French electorate – tuned in to watch Mr Sarkozy fight for his political life and see whether he would make good his pledge to “atomise” his left-wing rival during the almost three-hour clash.
Trailing Mr Hollande in the polls by at least seven points ahead of Sunday's presidential runoff, this was the Right-winger's best hope of catching up to defy the odds.
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