Sarkozy steps down

Nicolas Sarkozy will now focus on the French presidential campaign.

    Jacques Chirac, the French president, 
    is backing Sarkozy [AP]

    Sarkozy handed over to Francois Baroin, minister for France's overseas territories, at a ceremony at the interior ministry.

     

    Jacques Chirac, the French president, has given Sarkozy his backing as he is their party's designated candidate, but the two have been bitter rivals since Sarkozy backed a former Chirac ally for president in 1995.

       

    Mixed results  

       

    Sarkozy defended his record on cutting crime despite accusations that he has achieved only mixed results.

     

    He criticised those who called for him to leave earlier or warned him against returning to the ministry just under two years ago.

       

    "To some, I shouldn't have come back. They evidently didn't realise what the notion of duty is," he said.

       

    "To others, I should have left sooner. They evidently didn't realise what the notion of a team is - you don't abandon your team when it's ahead in the fight against delinquency."

       

    Polls show Sarkozy leads his socialist rival Segolene Royal and suggest he would win if they faced each other in the second round on May 6.

     

    Polls published last week, however, showed his lead over Royal was slipping.

       

    Surveys have also shown that if centrist Francois Bayrou could make it to the second round, he would win the presidency.

       

    That remains a distant prospect, however, as only the two candidates with the most votes on April 22 go through to the run-off and polls show he is well behind Royal.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.