16 Feb 2012

Sarkozy launches re-election campaign

12:36 pm on 16 February 2012

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has officially confirmed he will seek a second term in the presidential election scheduled for April and May.

Mr Sarkozy announced his candidacy live in an evening news programme on the TF1 television channel.

He has been raising his profile recently, launching his own Twitter account earlier this week and planning a rally in the southern port of Marseille on Sunday.

Mr Sarkozy said he believed he had the right policies for France over the next five years.

''I took this decision because France, Europe and the world have for the last three years seen a series of unprecedented crises, which means that not seeking a new mandate from the French people would be abandoning my duties,'' he said.

Mr Sarkozy pointed to the growth in the French economy in the final quarter of last year, which he said was higher than all other major European economies.

Polls put Socialist candidate Francois Hollande 5 - 8 percentage points ahead of Mr Sarkozy.

The latest Harris survey on Wednesday suggested Mr Hollande would take the first round by 28% to 24% and a run-off vote by 57% to 43%.

Saying said he was ''the captain of a boat in the heart of a storm'', Mr Sarkozy criticised Mr Hollande for concentrating too much on attacking him.