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Sarkozy to stand for re-election

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will run for another five-year term in elections starting in April.

Mr Sarkozy has lagged behind Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in opinion polls for months. Pollsters say the president will face an uphill battle to convince disillusioned voters that they should elect him again.

He made the announcement on national TV network TF1, saying: "Yes, I am a candidate."

The first round of the two-round elections is scheduled for April 22.

Mr Sarkozy pledged to boost the country's lagging economy. In his announcement, he blamed French voters' troubles in part on three years of financial crisis and said he would focus on getting more people working.

He promised a referendum on jobless benefits and training the unemployed, and said further reforms are needed to maintain France's "way of life".

Mr Sarkozy said France cannot turn in on itself and "pretend the crisis doesn't exist".

France's two-round presidential ballot in April and May is likely to have an impact throughout the European Union. Mr Sarkozy has been closely involved in the fight to save the euro amid a sovereign debt crisis in the bloc.

Pollsters suggest that Mr Sarkozy's political problems are as much of his own making as France's economic woes.

Critics say he failed to deliver on promises to improve purchasing power, raised his own salary and infused the gilded presidential palace with "bling" that was ill-suited for France's cultural self-image.


From Belfast Telegraph