Appearing on an evening news cast today, French President Nicolas Sarkozy at long last announced his intention to run for president.
"It is a decision heavy with meaning. If I have decided to be a candidate, it is because I have things to tell the French, I have propositions to make to them," he was quoted as saying by the daily newspaper Le Monde. "The sitting president has more duties than rights. This imposed itself on my predecessors. It imposes itself on me, too... I present myself before the French in truth."
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Sarkozy has been trailing his main rival in the polls, Socialist leader François Hollande, and suffered a sharp drop in public approval in 2008.
Here is a video of his announcement on the network TF1:
In making the case for his candidacy, Sarkozy touted reforms to higher education and retirement policies but also seemed to speak to an anxiety about French prestige and power.
“If France is strong, it shall be protected,” Le Monde quoted him as saying. “If it takes decisions that will place it in the new world, then it will be strong. If France is weak, it will be exposed.”
“There is a new period beginning,” he was quoted as saying. “There is something that will continue. France cannot remain outside the course of the world. Our country has every asset to keep its rank.”
The first round of elections are scheduled for April 22, and a second round will be held on May 6.
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