As President Sarkozy launched his presidential campaign last week, he thankfully faces an uphill struggle against the leader of the Socialists party Mr Hollande. All of the polls in France are currently putting Mr Hollande in the lead both in the first and second run offs. This demonstrates that Mr Hollande is seen as a credible alternative to the current right wing government and President Sarkozy is in real danger of losing his position. This would be a welcome change for France who has not had a socialist president since 1988, over two decades ago.
However Mr Hollande cannot rest on his laurels just yet. How would he appeal to Front National party supporters without losing the left ground? How will he assure voters that he will be financially responsible and get a grip on debt, without being over-burdensome on the banks? Angela Merkel sees the threat and has pledged to help campaign against Mr Hollande. This may prove for a turbulent relationship with Mr Hollande if (and when) he wins, especially as Mr Hollande has pledged to renegotiate the European Union fiscal compact, which President Sarkozy will not be able to seal before the election as well as emphasise jobs and growth, a welcome change for France. Mr Hollande as president could start to see a change in direction across the whole EU, with less austerity and more growth.