Sarkozy brands election rival Hollande 'a liar'

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Sarkozy brands election rival Hollande 'a liar'

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Nicolas Sarkozy has hit the campaign trail for the first time in his bid to be re-elected president of France, one day after declaring his intention to run.

He was in the Alpine town of Annecy on Thursday, ahead of a two-round presidential ballot that starts in April.

The French head of state is trailing well behind his Socialist rival François Hollande in the polls.

A runoff between the two would see Hollande win with 57 percent of the vote, pollsters say.

Addressing supporters of his centre-right UMP party, Sarkozy chided Hollande for flip-flopping on key economic policies.

“When you tell the English press that you are pro-free market and then you tell the French that finance is the enemy, you are lying. Lying from morning to night,” he told the crowd.

Sarkozy said he was the only candidate committed to real reform in France. Hollande told a British newspaper on Monday that he would not seek to crack down on the City of London with zealous EU regulations if elected.

He had previously told Socialist supporters that his main challenger in this election was “the world of finance.”