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Chirac’s wife urges Sarkozy to reclaim presidency

© AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2013-02-17

Former first lady Bernadette Chirac has joined a chorus of right-wing figures calling on ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy to run for France’s top job in 2017.

Former first lady Bernadette Chirac said on Saturday she hoped Nicolas Sarkozy would run again for president in 2017, adding to mounting speculation that the right-wing politician will try to reclaim France’s top job in four years' time.

“I personally wish that Nicolas Sarkozy would run again. And you will see that the result will be completely positive and different from the last [time],” the silver-haired wife of ex-president Jacques Chirac told French news channel iTele in a brief on-camera comment.

Benadette Chirac, 79, has been a regional councilmember in the central Corrèze region since 1979 and, while she is best known for her former role as first lady, remains a prominent figure in the right-wing opposition Union for Popular Movement (UMP).

While they are both UMP members, Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac have long maintained a personal grudge that at times has spilled out into public view. However, Bernadette Chirac personally campaigned alongside Sarkozy during his failed re-election bid last year.

Sixty-seven percent say 'no' to Sarkozy comeback

President François Hollande, a socialist, unseated Sarkozy in May 2012. Under French law Sarkozy could be re-elected president, although such a comeback feat would be unprecedented in French history.

Earlier this week, former foreign minister Alain Juppé hinted that Sarkozy wanted to return to the Elysée presidential palace.

According to a January 6 survey by the French polling agency Ifop, 67 percent of right-leaning voters in France say they want Sarkozy to return to politics and be the UMP’s presidential nominee in 2017.

However, a similar study by pollster BVA on February 15 revealed that 62 percent of voters from across the political spectrum did not want Sarkozy back.

The former conservative president has mostly kept his campaign promise to step away from politics if he lost the 2013 presidential election. He made an isolated public appeal in August 2012 to demand international action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Date created : 2013-02-17

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