-- which has been the long-running argument from the right.
Le Figaro maintained a Hollande victory would mean Melenchon and his far-left support base would hold the new president hostage with "suicidal economic policies ... to the detriment of France".
But the left-leaning Le Monde said the Sarkozy presidency had "egregious shortcomings, due to his ubiquity, his exhibitionism, his endless capacity to contradict himself, his fascination with the rich, and his tendency to blame all shortcomings on the unemployed, immigrants, Muslims and civil servants".
Liberation, another left-leaning newspaper, said the financial markets "were not scared by the left" and had anticipated a Socialist win in both the presidential and parliamentary elections.
This acceptance -- that if opinion polls are correct -- means that on May 7, President Hollande will be the first Socialist president since 1995.
Throughout the campaign, a key component of debate and scrutiny has been the economy, with both leading candidates promising to balance the budget. Hollande, however has emphasised growth, in comparison with attempts to cut deficits through the "austerity" measures of Sarkozy's administration.
The economy has dominated the election, even though there was a brief moment when it looked like the debate was about to be shifted to immigration and Islam following the Toulouse shootings.
It is the economy
Anne-GaŽlle Besse, a French journalist in the northern town of Denain -- often dubbed "the poorest city in France", said the election had forced people there to "take an interest", given the dependence of their future on the outcome of the vote.
Besse said general media coverage had been based on "economics being the main issue, not security. And all those anti-Muslim declarations haven't really worked".
Liberation, days after the Toulouse shootings criticised Sarkozy initially for how he had "played the Muslim card on terror, halal meat and Hijabs" to appeal to Le Pen supporters.
"As we approach the 2012 presidential election, relations between Nicolas Sarkozy and the Muslim community continue to deteriorate, as Sarkozy aims to use 'the Muslim issue' as a vote grabbing exercise," said Gaelle.
Sarkozy's reported attempts to pick up far-right voters did not go unnoticed and attracted strong international criticism, with The Wall Street Journal calling him "Nicolas Le Pen". Yet Sarkozy has not be allowed to steer the debate far from the economy, and that is where he hopes he can take on Hollande in the second round.
There seems to be a general consensus coming from French media that, unlike previous elections, there are many voters who still haven't made up their mind who to vote for, or have confessed they simply won't be coming out to vote in the first round.
Shaima Elbialy, a French journalist living in London, said the media and the candidates failed to attract people's attention simply because real issues had hardly been tackled.
"Even the debates between candidates on TV have attracted fewer people ... and in particular, young people," said Elbialy.
Marianne, a weekly French news magazine, implied that none of the candidates had announced any solution to "real problems" that fuel so much anger among voters -- hence a potential low first-round turnout.
A study carried out by polling agency IFOP for the education magazine L'Etudiant reported 59 per cent of voters aged 18 to 22 were still unsure of their choice, compared with 32 per cent of the French population at large.
An IFOP opinion poll for the Journal de Dimanche weekly newspaper also predicted some 32 per cent of eligible voters would abstain from voting in this round.
According to writer Eric Le Boucher in the financial newspaper Les Echos, it is "an election of illusions," calling the campaign "an overwhelming disappointment".
Even though Le Figaro is rooting for Sarkozy, it has also stated that undecided voters were hesitating between "the vote from the heart" for Melenchon or Le-Pen and the "vote from reason" for Hollande or Sarkozy.
But it is difficult to see how Sarkozy can overturn the odds and defeat Hollande, despite tough talk on the economy and immigration. The Toulouse shootings briefly played in his favour as the security-conscious incumbent, but recent polls have again seen Hollande rise above him in first-round voting.
As a run-off between Hollande and Sarkozy looks likely in next month's second round, it is expected that the French media, along with the rest of the nation, will have to take a deeper role in scrutinising, analysing and commenting on who they really want to govern them.
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