NICOLAS SARKOZY HAS used Twitter to confirm that he plans to run for re-election as president of France in April.
Sarkozy faces an uphill task to hold onto power in France with polls showing that he is currently trailing Francois Hollande from the Socialist Party as the country struggles to deal with the economic downturn.
In what was likely to have been one of the first ever instances of a president declaring his re-election bid over Twitter, the official account of Sarkozy – which was only set up today – tweeted this evening: “Oui, je suis candidat à l’élection présidentielle.”
Sarkozy was simultaneously giving an interview to French television confirming his intention to seek a second five-year term in office. The Twitter account carried further quotes from the interview including his call for “all the French” to support him.
The campaign for a second term has been widely expected.
Despite a strong reputation for his work on international affairs such as the Western intervention in Libya and his leadership in the eurozone crisis along with German chancellor Angela Merkel, Sarkozy is unpopular at home.
One poll indicates he has a 36 per cent approval rating. His attempts to reduce the cost of France’s public sector pay and pension bill by encouraging a longer working week and later retirement have been hampered by widespread resistance.
“The reforms we have undertaken are beginning to bear fruit,” Sarkozy insisted in his interview.
The 57-year-old is currently considered unlikely to win re-election which requires a candidate to achieve 50 per cent at the first time of asking when voters go to the polls on 22 April.
If no candidate achieves that amount of support, the top two candidates go into a run off election which will take place in 6 May.
Polls currently show that Hollande and Sarkozy would go into a run-off but that the Socialist candidate would emerge victorious. Other candidates in the race include the right-wing Marine Le Pen from Front National and the centrist candidate Francois Bayrou.