‘A Strong France.’
That is the slogan that Nicolas Sarkozy hopes will help him overturn the opinion polls and win a second term as French president.
With the first vote in April, the press had no doubt the conservative leader would throw his hat into the ring.
Sarkozy has stressed the adverse effects of the global economic crisis, blaming the turmoil for derailing his agenda after his 2007 election on a pledge to return France to full employment.
“The question is how much of the current crisis has to do with his own term as president and how much it has to do with international dynamics,” said political analyst Christopher Bickerton, Associate Professor at the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris. “But that’s certainly the tone he is giving to his campaign, that France has to do certain things in order to survive the crisis and that he is the one that can best assure that.”
Sarkozy launched his campaign live on television, saying that, like a sea captain in a storm, he could not abandon his post. Opinion polls suggest he may not have the choice, with his Socialist rival Francois Hollande the clear frontrunner.