French citizen votes in Ashdod
French citizen votes in AshdodReuters

Nicolas Sarkozy won nearly 93 percent of the votes of French citizens in Israel in his bid for re-election as president, but expatriates elsewhere reflected the vote back home.

Socialist challenger Francois Hollande won 51.7 percent of the vote in France, with Sarkozy almost closing a pre-election gap of up to 20 percent, but not enough to score a victory.

France, like the United States, allows its citizens overseas to vote in national elections, and nearly 10,000 French nationals in Israel cast their ballots in Haifa, Ashdod, Netanya, Ashdod and Eilat.

Sarkozy won 9,186 votes, or 92.8 percent, while Holland was backed by only 713 voters.

Approximately half a million French citizens registered to vote overseas, double the number in the 2007 vote, according to French newspaper LePetit Journal’s publisher Herve Heyraud.

A pre-election poll last month showed Sarkozy with a narrow two percentage lead over Hollande. In the 2007 vote, overseas voters backed Sarkozy over Socialist Segolene Royal by a 64-46 percent.

Heyraud told Bloomberg that the pre-election poll was a sign that expatriates reflected the sentiment back home.