The centrist lawmaker who finished third in France's last presidential election has announced his candidacy for the upcoming race.
Francois Bayrou, who heads the MoDem party, presented himself as an alternative to France's traditional left-right divide.
With Wednesday's announcement, Bayrou enters a field that already includes the opposition Socialist party's Francois Hollande, Marine Le Pen of the extreme right National Front party and others.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of the conservative UMP party has not yet announced his candidacy but is widely expected to shortly. The two-round race will take place in April and May. Bayrou is currently polling in a distant fourth place.