France’s Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has finally launched his official bid to become the country’s next president. The leader of the conservative UMP party has been widely touted as a candidate for years but few in France expected him to announce his intentions with five months still to go. But many believe his hand was forced by the much publicised declaration of the Socialist candidate, Segolene Royal.
Sarkozy has won much support for his tough stance on immigration and youth crime. All that remains is the UMP’s formally confirmation in January. But a sour relationship with Jacques Chirac could be his undoing though. Sarkozy cannot count on the President’s support as he is said to favour any other candidate.