Group of Parisians launch Obama 2017 French presidential campaign

Four friends in Paris have launched a petition to ask former US President Barack Obama to campaign in France's 2017 presidential election.

PARIS, FRANCE (REUTERS) - As France prepares to go to the polls, posters showing a familiar face are being plastered across Paris.

The poster calls for former US President Barack Obama to join France's upcoming presidential election.

The call even comes with an online petition signed by more than 40,000 people.

The pitch for Mr Obama was started by four friends who requested not to be identified.

They say the idea started during a talk over beers.

"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 one president whom we really believed in. And so, Obama arrived on the table," said an Obama 2017 campaigner, who asked to remain anonymous. 

Opinion polls have far-right leader Marine Le Pen leading in the first round of the April-May vote. But she would lose to either independent candidate Emmanuel Macron or conservative Francois Fillon in the second round.

Even though the four campaigners admit it's a joke, they hope it sends a message that none of their current candidates are sufficient.

"We're worried that it, our current selection, will lead us to choices that are too radical and that it pushes out-of-the-system-candidates like what happened in the United States with Trump, we don't want that to happen to us," the campaigner said.

French law requires the president to be a French citizen, thus ruling out a potential Obama run.