Thursday Feb 09, 201203:00 PM GMT
Sarkozy set to declare candidacy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (file photo)
Thu Feb 9, 2012 1:51PM
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy takes a populist turn as he plans to promise a referendum on jobs and immigration, along with a series of other propositions that could be seen as vote boosting programs.

Le Monde newspaper reported on Thursday that Sarkozy might declare his candidacy for France’s next presidential election as early as February 16.

In an interview with Le Figaro magazine to be published this weekend, the president is expected to propose the referendum on whether the unemployed should continue getting benefits even if they turn down a job, According to sources in Sarkozy’s centre-right political party, UMP.

According to the source Sarkozy is also hoping to reform the way in which illegal immigrants could be deported from France.

Sarkozy, who has yet to announce if he is running for France's elections in April and May, lags in polls well behind Socialist Francois Hollande.

During a joint TV appearance in Paris on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel threw her weight behind Sarkozy, saying it was "perfectly natural" to support fellow conservative Sarkozy in what is likely to become his uphill battle to be re-elected.

Analysts say Merkel's strategy to support Sarkozy is self-serving. If Sarkozy loses elections in April and May, his successor may scrap a pact imposing greater fiscal discipline across the continent that the two leaders have struggled to craft and persuade other European Union members to accept.

The intrusion of Germany into France’s politics is another step towards strengthening the EU at the expense of national sovereignty. Some say the EU can’t survive any other way.

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