French President Jacques Chirac has left open the possibility of seeking a third term in April's presidential elections.

Asked about the possibility of running again, Mr. Chirac told journalists it is worth considering and pledged to announce his decision when the time comes. His comments came at a New Year's reception for journalists.

French public opinion polls show most citizens would oppose a third term for the 74-year-old Mr. Chirac. But the French leader has failed to back the candidacy of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the only announced candidate of the country's ruling conservative party.

Members of Mr. Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement have been voting by Internet and in party offices ahead of the party's formal announcement of its presidential candidate Sunday.

Sarkozy emerged as the sole nominee after Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie announced last month that she will not run. 

The main opposition Socialist Party nominated former Family Minister Segolene Royal as its candidate in November.

The presidential election is set for April 22, with a second round on May 6, if needed.