French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday vowed to build "a strong France," saying peoples' destiny dwelled on hard working.
Sarkozy made the speech at his first campaign rally in Annecy, West France, a day after making his long-awaited announcement for 2012 presidential election, in a bid to garner enough votes to secure his second mandate as the French president.
With nine weeks before the first round of presidential vote on April 22, the conservative president told thousands of audience in the rally that "the sole subject of the campaign, is France, What can we do for her? That gave me the reason to be the candidate." By seeking another five-year mandate, Sarkozy promised to contribute himself for a "strong France that can protect everyone in your families."
Lowering unemployment and restricting immigration are two dominated issues that the the centre-right leader's only hope for success reiterated to hold referendums on. "If there is a blockage, I will turn to the people and ask them to decide," Sarkozy said.
He called for the jobless to do enough to seek employment and encouraged French people to work more. "It is through work and effort that we will secure our social model," the president said.
For his first speech as candidate, Sarkozy entered in a sensational way in the campaign race by addressing very directly to his opponent Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, accusing him of lying "morning and evening." He admitted making errors and sometimes sensitive himself, but said he always tried to be fair, honest and do his best "even when personal suffering were present."
The curtain of the campaign stage is unveiled with two leading rivals showing up in an absolutely challenging way. But the 57-year-old president suffered from disapproval rating on pre-election polls.
The Ifop's latest poll published on Wednesday showed the socialist frontrunner Hollade leading the list of candidates with 30 percent in first round while Sarkozy lagged 5 points behind. In the second round scheduled in May 6, Hollande would beat Sarkozy 57 percent to 43 percent.