PARIS, FRANCE (BNO NEWS) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined the social networking website Twitter on early Wednesday morning as he prepares to launch his campaign for re-election during a television broadcast.
Sarkozy, whose account @NicolasSarkozy has been verified by Twitter, posted his first tweet at 8:14 a.m. local time in Paris. “Hello everyone, I am very pleased to launch my Twitter account. Thank you to those who will follow me!” the first message read.
About 25 minutes later, Sarkozy posted another tweet to invite his followers to watch him on France’s main private network on Wednesday evening. “I have accepted the invitation of TF1 to appear on the 8 p.m. news tonight so I’ll meet you there,” he wrote.
The center-right president is expected to announce his candidacy for re-election during his appearance on TF1 on Wednesday evening. Sarkozy is not doing well in the ratings and faces a tough re-election battle with Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Sarkozy had gathered more than 33,00 followers. His rival Hollande, who has posted more than 1,600 tweets since November 2010, has nearly 148,000 followers. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen has just over 35,000 followers.
According to a tracking poll released by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) earlier this week, about 30 percent of French voters support Hollande, 25.5 percent support Sarkozy, and 17.5 percent support Le Pen. In a second round, the poll expects 57 percent of voters to support Hollande over Sarkozy’s 43 percent.
The presidential election in France, which saw its national unemployment rate reach a 12-year high of 9.3 percent during Sarkozy’s presidency, is scheduled to take place in two rounds on April 22 and May 6.