The official campaign has got underway ahead of France’s presidential election in two weeks’ time.
This means that campaign posters of all 12 candidates will now be put up outside polling stations in each French town and city.
Up until April 20 – 24 hours before voting starts – each candidate must be given exactly the same airtime on public radio and television. And, in a rule unique to France, any news coverage must also be equally divided between all the candidates.
Former interior minister and conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy leads the polls by a narrow margin.
He is trailed by Socialist Segolene Royal, centrist Francois Bayrou and, in fourth position, far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Young revolutionary leader Olivier Besancenot is in the lead among the smaller candidates according to opinion polls which say that more than 40 percent of voters remain undecided.
Jean-Marie Le Pen says he is convinced many more will vote for him than the polls reveal, just like in 2002 when he shocked the nation by making it to second round.
Forty four million people are eligible to vote in the first round on April 22. A run-off is scheduled for May 6.