Against a backdrop of an unsolved Eurozone debt crisis, the next French president needs to revive the country's flagging economy, tackle the worst levels of unemployment in a decade and reduce debt levels which have cost France its AAA credit rating.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has got through to the second round of the presidential election, where he will face off against his socialist rival Francois Hollande.
Tomasz Michalski, assistant professor of economics and decision sciences at the Paris-based business school HEC, told the Today programme's Simon Jack that there is "a crucial difference" between the two men.
He said that Nicolas Sarkozy will support the fiscal contract negotiated with European leaders and will "write the golden rule into the French constitution" referring to a 3% limit to France's deficit, whereas Francois Hollande wants to renegotiate the deal.
He went on to say that Mr Hollande may increase tax, "especially the 15% most wealthy" and take away tax breaks.
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