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Sarkozy seen winning, media reports

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Conservative favourite Nicolas Sarkozy is on course to win France’s presidential election run-off on Sunday with about 54 percent of the vote, Belgian and Swiss media reported.

The RTBF public broadcasting station and the newspapers Le Soir and La Libre Belgique reported that unofficial projections showed Sarkozy beating Socialist Segolene Royal comfortably.

French law bans the publication of any exit polls or projections in France until after the last polling stations close in big cities at 8 p.m. (7:00 p.m. British time).

But an hour before voting ended, RTL private television and the Swiss daily Le Temps credited Sarkozy with 54.5 percent against 45.5 percent for Royal, the first woman to reach the second round of a French presidential election.

Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, interviewed in front of cheering crowds outside Sarkozy’s party headquarters in Paris, told RTBF television: “With a victory which is looking so big, there’s not much debate. The French people have decided.”

Le Soir, quoting sources close to the French Interior Ministry’s political intelligence service (Renseignements Generaux) said Sarkozy had about 54 percent of the vote.

Turnout was 75.1 percent at 5 p.m. the Interior Ministry said, even higher than in the first round two weeks ago, when Sarkozy and Royal beat 10 other candidates.