Campaign organisers came up with idea because they were disenchanted with the candidates running in Frances election
Posters of Barack Obama have popped up around Paris in what started as a joke by four friends pretending to launch a campaign for the former US leader ahead of Frances presidential election.
The posters bear the words Oui on peut, a French translation of Obamas popular and effective 2008 campaign slogan Yes We Can.
Even though the former US president, as a foreigner, cannot legally run in the two-round April-May election, an online petition posted by the group on their site Obama2017.fr has been signed by more than 40,000 people.
The organisers, who came up with idea over beer, said they launched the website and began plastering Obama17 posters around Paris because they were disenchanted with the candidates running in Frances election.
The movements website said it wants to coax France out of its lethargy and Obama has the experience to do it.
We wish to strike a blow by electing a foreign president at the head of our beautiful country, the website reads.
Barack Obama has completed his second term as president of the United States why not hire him as president for France?
The group aims to reach more than 1m signatures by 15 March.
Polls now show far-right candidate Marine Le Pen leading in the first round of thepresidential election in April but losing in the second round to a single candidate from the centre-left or centre-right.
But that race has tightened, raising the prospect that the National Front leader could become the first far-right politician to win power through the ballot box in Western Europe since the second world war.
Reuters contributed to this report