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France (Presidential)

Election date: April 22 and May 6

According to opinion polls, the French presidential election, due on April 22 and May 6, looks likely to make Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured here) only the second leader of the fifth republic to become a one-term president. Having lost favor with much of the public, at 23 percent, Sarkozy is battling the worst poll ratings of any French leader seeking re-election.

The favorite to win, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande with 30.5 percent in the polls, has declared war “on the world of finance,” proposed a tax rate of 75 percent for houses earning above €1m ($1.3 million), promised to undo Sarkozy’s raising of the pension age and re-negotiate the hard-won European Union fiscal compact for being too focused on austerity.

This has aroused the suspicion of other European leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly announced her support for Sarkozy before he had even declared he was running. German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported Hollande’s campaign was being shunned by conservative European leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, who did not meet him on a recent visit to London.

If Hollande does win, disagreement between the euro zone’s two largest powers could have serious implications for resolving the euro zone debt crisis.

“This could cause a serious setback for the political process in Europe, and after years with Merkozy’s intensifying leadership it could become rather uncomfortable for the financial markets to watch a Hollande publicly showing that he is very much in disagreement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on several accounts,” analysts at Danske Bank wrote in a note.

Photo: Patrick Aventurier | Getty Images