Born: May 25, 1951 in the southwestern town of Borderes near the Pyrenees
Background: One of six children, born to devout Roman Catholic parents, Calixte Bayrou and Emma Sarthou. His father, a farmer and mayor of Borderes, died in a fall when Bayrou was just 23. The young Bayrou took over the farm with his mother, and continues to help out to this day. He studied literature at university and worked as a teacher before entering politics.
Family: Married Elisabeth Perlant in 1971. They have six children.
Political parties: President of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) from 1998 to 2007. Created the Democractic Movement (MoDem) in 2007.
Political career: Was a local councillor for the Pyrenees Atlantiques department in southern France from 1982 to 2008, and has been an MP for the same department almost consistently since 1986, with just two interruptions. He was education minister under Edouard Balladur from 1993 to 1997, then a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2002. Bayrou stood in his first presidential election in 2002, and again in 2007 when he narrowly missed a place in the second-round runoff with 19 percent of the first-round vote. Following that last defeat he set up his own party, the MoDem, which absorbed the UDF.
Current mandate(s): MP for Pyrenees Atlantiques and town councillor for Pau
Outstanding feature: When not on the campaign trail, Bayrou breeds racehorses at his ancestral home in Borderes and helps run the family farm. He is a passionate admirer of King Henri IV and has published a biography of the French monarch entitled “The Free King”.
Balance budget by 2016 with 50 billion euros of spending cuts and an equivalent rise in revenues. Tax hikes include a 1 point rise in VAT, a new 50 percent rate for high earners and a rise in the 41 percent rate to 45 percent. He has also promised to tackle tax evasion and benefit fraud.
Create a "Made in France" label, cut bureaucracy for businesses and ensure easier access to finance for small firms.
Tighten regulation of derivatives and commodity markets, fight tax havens and look into the idea of separating retail and investment banking activities.
Increase the use of surveillance cameras and introduce sanctions for first-time offenders, particularly the very young, including reparation of victims and educational measures.
Promote further European integration, with common defence and energy policies, and an EU president elected by popular vote.
No cuts in teacher numbers, shorten the school week to 28 hours and reduce class sizes.