Four friends launch a petition asking former U.S. President Barack Obama to campaign in France's 2017 presidential election. Elly Park reports.
"Yes we can." Hundreds of posters with the French translation of former U.S. President Barack Obama's slogan are plastered around Paris. It's the work by Obama 2017 campaigners who are hoping to entice the former president to run for the highest office of France. The group of friends, who wished to remain anonymous, say the movement expresses their frustrations with French politicians. SOUNDBITE: Obama 2017 campaigner who asked to remain anonymous, saying (French) "The idea for Obama 2017 actually came from a discussion over a beer between friends. We realised we didn't want to vote for anyone and especially, we were fed up after years of voting against a candidate instead of for a president who we really believe in." In less than a week the campaign says it has collected over 40,000 signatures and is hoping to garner 1 million before March 15 to persuade Obama to join the race. On the streets, many Parisians seem to be open to the idea. SOUNDBITE: Paris Resident, Alexis, saying (French) "It's true that Obama made everyone dream during the eight years he was in power in the United States and we're struggling to find someone who has a bit of charisma, someone to embody, to be at the head of France." SOUNDBITE: Paris Resident and Retiree, Rosaline, saying (French) "Do the current candidates carry enough weight? Well, no, not really and those who I really like have very little chance of getting through. So maybe Obama would. Actually, definitely." The French will select their new leader in two rounds of voting in April and May, with polls predicting independent candidate Emmanuel Macron beating out far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round. The group says they have international support as well, as several Americans have reached out to say that if they succeed they would move to France.