World Briefs: Sarkozy wins poll boost in race for presidency

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PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy heard his first welcome news in a while Tuesday in his battle for re-election.

For the first time in this campaign, a new poll suggests the long-unpopular president could beat Socialist Francois Hollande in the first round of voting next month - but it, like all previous polls, indicates Mr. Hollande would win in the crucial runoff.

Mr. Sarkozy publicly shrugged off the new estimates, and the campaign remains full of uncertainties.

The conservative leader has shifted visibly to the right in his campaign, with calls for a crackdown on immigration and criticizing measures accommodating French Muslims. He’s trying to tap votes from the resurgent far right and its candidate Marine Le Pen.

Ms. Le Pen won a victory of her own Tuesday, as her party announced that she has obtained the 500 signatures from elected officials necessary to formalize her bid for the presidency.

NETHERLANDS

International court to deliver first verdicts

THE HAGUE — Joseph Kony and Thomas Lubanga are accused of leading jungle militias that turned African children into killers.

But while Mr. Lubanga awaits verdict in jail here, Kony remains one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives.

Mr. Lubanga’s moment of judgment comes Wednesday when a panel of three judges at the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal lays down a crucial legal landmark by delivering verdicts.

The case is the first at an international tribunal to focus exclusively on the use of child soldiers, meaning it will set legal precedents that could be used if the likes of Kony - who recently found Internet infamy in a video about the atrocities allegedly carried out by his Lord’s Resistance Army - are captured and brought to justice.

EL SALVADOR

Rightists win biggest congress bloc

SAN SALVADOR — The leftist party led by El Salvador’s president lost four seats in midterm elections, leaving the conservatives as the biggest bloc in the legislature, according to preliminary vote counts made public Monday.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal said that with 95 percent of Sunday’s votes counted, the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance gained a seat to hold 33 of the Legislative Assembly’s 84 seats. It also won some key mayoral posts, including in the capital.

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