François Bayrou confirms he will run for president
France's former education minister and creator of the Democratic Movement Party, François Bayrou, confirmed Thursday he will run as a candidate in next year's presidential elections.
REUTERS - Francois Bayrou said on Thursday he would run for president in next year’s election, a move that could eat into conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s voter base.
Bayrou, a former education minister who ran for the presidency in 2002 and 2007 for the centrists, had widely been expected to stand, but had said he would officially launch his candidacy at the start of December.
“I will be a candidate in the presidential election because I really think the country needs a new start and we can’t carry on like this for another five years,” he told TF1 television’s evening news programme.
Bayrou was head of the Union for French Democracy or UDF Party from 1998 to 2007, but set up his own Democratic Movement Party (MoDem) after narrowly failing to get through the first round of the 2007 election with close to 19 percent of the vote.
A survey by pollsters Opinion Way on Thursday gave Bayrou 7 percent of the vote in the first round of a 2012 election, against 26 percent for Sarkozy and 30 percent for Socialist favourite Francois Hollande.
Although he remains an outsider in the contest, he could poach valuable votes from more moderate supporters of Sarkozy’s ruling UMP Party, disappointed with the president’s hardline conservative stance on security and immigration.