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French ex-PM Dominique de Villepin to run for president in 2012


15:42, December 12, 2011

PARIS, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin Sunday officially declared his bid for the presidency, and the first round of elections will be held next April.

Villepin said on a local TV program that he had decided to be a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, and would call on all political and public powers for support to deal with the ongoing crisis if he wins.

In his political career, Villepin served as minister of foreign affairs, minister of the interior and chief of staff of the president. On May 31, 2005, he reached the peak of his career after being named prime minister by then President Jacques Chirac.

The 58-year-old politician founded a new political party, the United Republic, in June 2010 and quit the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party last February. French media speculated before that he would give up his candidacy due to his low popularity rating.

A poll released on Sunday suggested Villepin would get around 1 percent of votes. The poll also said that Socialist candidate Francois Hollande led with 31.5 percent, Sarkozy followed with 26 percent, and far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen got 13.5 percent.

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