French President Nicolas Sarkozy used an appearance on a news programme on Wednesday night to announce he will be running for a second term.
It has been something of a foregone conclusion that he would stand in elections in April and May, with accusations that even though he had not formally declared, he has been campaigning by stealth.
When directly questioned by the interviewer, Sarkozy gave a straight answer:
“Yes, I’m a candidate in the presidential election. I took the decision a few weeks ago. I have decided to become a candidate, because I have things to say to my fellow countrymen, I have propositions to make and in the next five years, French people have to understand that the main thing is, if France is strong, they will be protected,” Sarkozy said, making reference to his newly-unveiled election slogan – ‘Strong France’.
However, polls show that Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande is on track to be the next president with a 15 point lead.
Hollande gave his scathing assessment of Sarkozy’s announcement: “We knew this piece of news was coming for a a long time. We’ve always known it. The candidate president has been a president candidate for the last five years. No sooner was he elected than he was already campaigning. Barely was he incoming than he was already outgoing,” Hollande said.
Hollande also described Sarkozy’s decision to run as a ‘fiasco’, saying five years of getting it wrong does not count as five years of experience.
However, having never held a cabinet position himself, Hollande is being painted as a lightweight by his opponents.