French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday announced on TV interview his long-expected candidacy to extend his 5-year-mandate.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy poses prior to take part in the broadcast news of French TV channel TF1 in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside Paris, to announce his re-election bid and launchs the official start of his election campaign, on February 15, 2012. [Xinhua/AFP]
"I'm candidate for the presidential election. I took the decision several weeks ago (because) ... I have things to say and proposals to present to French people," Sarkozy told the private TV channel TF1.
The announcement came just nine weeks before the first round of the presidential election on April 22.
His main rival is Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, who launched his campaign in fall 2011 and has remained ahead by several percentage points in pre-election polls.
"For French people, it is certain that major decisions in France will be settled by the French people," Sarkozy said.
"If you want to keep our social model, our model of life, we must continue to make reforms," said the candidate of Union for Popular Movement (UMP).
The reforms the current government has undertaken are beginning to bear fruit, the 57-year-old president said, giving an assessment of his first five-year term as president.
"We can not do everything in five years and we've been in three years a succession of unprecedented crises," he said, stressing he was seeking a second term to deepen reforms he had promised during the election campaign in 2007.