Nicolas Sarkozy joins Twitter
Paris - French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined the micro-blogging website Twitter on Wednesday shortly before he was due to appear on television to announce the official start of his election campaign.
"Good day to you all, I'm very happy today to launch my Twitter account. Thank you to all of those who would like to follow me," he said, in his first message, under the official Twitter handle @NicolasSarkozy.
"I have accepted TF1's invitation to appear on the 8pm [20:00] news tonight and I invite you all to join me," he said, referring to France's main private network, on which he was to launch his campaign.
Sarkozy is due to face around a dozen opponents in the first round of voting on April 22. The two best placed candidates will then have a run-off on May 6.
Sarkozy is coming to the end of his first five-year term and, while he has not formally confirmed his re-election bid, has made no secret of his determination to run for office despite low opinion poll ratings.
For several months all pollsters have predicted that he will be beaten by the Socialist opposition challenger Francois Hollande, while also facing a stiff challenge from far right flag bearer Marine Le Pen.
Around 40 minutes after Sarkozy's Twitter account went live he already had 5 457 followers - a quick start, but far fewer than the 146 120 web-users who already receive Hollande's regular updates.