A welcome declaration of support – French presidential hopeful, Nicolas Sarkozy has finally been endorsed by Jacques Chirac. It ends months of hostility between the two men and could bolster the centre-right’s campaign. Even though Chirac and Sarkozy both belong to the same ruling UMP, political differences and personal animosity have prevented the out-going leader from backing his colleague – until now. The French president gave his support during an address in which he announced that Sarkozy would leave his post as Interior minister on Monday, to concentrate on the election on April 22.
In all, 12 candidates have qualified to run in the presidential poll. Sarkozy is one of the front runners as is the Socialist Segolene Royal. The two are also fighting a strong surge from the centrist politician Francois Bayrou. The poll is expected to go to a second vote two weeks afterwards as no candidate is likely to win an outright majority first time. Far-right candidate Jean- Marie le Pen is hoping to repeat his strong showing from five years ago when he unexpectedly won through to the second round.