In the first big rally of his re-election campaign, four days after announcing his candidacy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has defended his economic record.

Although his country is facing rising unemployment and losing its AAA credit rating, Sarkozy insisted he helped country to avoid a catastrophe and a “crisis of confidence”.

His main rival, Socialist Francois Hollande, has accused Sarkozy of “giving in” to Germany, referring to the recent rapprochement ...

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