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France's Hollande says he'd keep 'burqa ban'

France's socialist presidential candidate says that, if elected, he won't seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives.

Francois Hollande, who leads Sarkozy in all polls, and most other Socialists abstained from the 2010 vote in the National Assembly to ban mesh-screen burqas and niqabs — which have slits for the eyes.

On RTL radio Friday, Hollande said he would keep the ban, but "have it applied in the best way." He did not elaborate.

Controversy surrounded the law that took effect last year. Muslim leaders say it unfairly stigmatizes Muslims. Supporters insist it helps defend France's secular state. Only a tiny number of women wear the veils.

The presidential election runoff is May 6.