Sarkozy turns to Twitter to galvanise support

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has unveiled a Twitter account ahead of appearing on French television tonight where he is expected to announce his candidature for the upcoming presidential elections.

Many believe Sarkozy will confirm his re-election bid on TF1 this evening.

In preparation, the president has set up his first Twitter account – a common platform for politicians to engage with potential voters, particularly in the run up to an election.

In eight hours Sarkozy accumulated over 42,000 followers awaiting his next tweet.

His main political rival, François Hollande, already has over 150,000 followers having launched his Twitter account months ago. He posts up to 10 times a day, has tweeted 1,689 times and follows over 1,677 Twitter users.

Sarkozy is new to the Twitter game, and so far follows just one other user – the Eylsée Palace. His first post read: “Hello everyone, I am very pleased to have launched my Twitter account today. Thanks to those who decide to follow me!”

The second post read: “I have accepted TF1’s invitation to appear on the 8pm news tonight and I invite you all to watch.”

Sarkozy clearly has not given up on the presidential race yet, despite polls repeatedly suggesting Hollande is the more popular candidate.

France’s financial community is following electoral developments closely as both candidates have promised to introduce a range of new measures aimed at addressing misdemeanours in the financial industry.

These include implementing a financial transactions tax, setting up a public European rating agency, separating banks’ custodial and investment activities and regulating bonuses.

Many are concerned Hollande is the hardliner when it comes to finance, having recently declared war on it in a speech to thousands of party members. He later attempted to clarify his position via Twitter: “I said my enemy was finance. I should have said the world of money – it’s the same thing.”

Although Sarkozy is also seen as pandering to the anti-finance mood in France, investors see him as the safer candidate. Louis Pestel, senior analyst at Insti7, said ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch may be waiting to see the outcome of the presidential election before following S&P’s lead and downgrading France’s AAA rating.

M&G’s Investments’ retail bond team recently posted on their Twitter account: “Francois Hollande, the French socialist ahead in polls for 2012 presidential election, looks pretty radical from a bond market perspective.”

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