Nicolas Sarkozy has wasted no time in preparing for round two of the French Presidential elections. He was back on the campaign trail early this morning, boosted by his strong first round showing.
A lead of around five percent over rival Segolene Royal gives him a head-start, but the race is far from over. His challenge in the next two weeks is to attract first round far-right voters, without alienating himself from those who backed the centrist candidate Francois Bayrou.
Since making the run-off with the mantle of favourite, Sarkozy has reiterated his desire to improve France’s employment record as a means of uniting its society. “Deep down, all I want is to bring the French people closer to a French dream.” he told his celebrating supporters.
The campaign trail will take Sarkozy to towns across France over the next fortnight. One key date is May the second, when he goes head-to-head with Royal on live television.
Faced with a gruelling schedule, he can count on the help of fervent party members. “We’re very happy” said one. “We start campaigning for the second round full of hope and energy. Long live Nicolas.” “We’re in the final” they sang at his rally in Paris. And his team has the advantage before the match even starts. But he will know that in two of the last five elections, initial leads have been overturned.