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France

Ex-president Sarkozy ‘could launch comeback in 2014’

© AFP

Text by Thomas HUBERT

Latest update : 2013-11-28

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy could take advantage of next year’s local and European elections to launch a comeback, a former government minister and close aide told the popular Europe 1 radio station Thursday.

In recent months, Nicolas Sarkozy’s has limited his public appearances to the front-row of concerts with his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and non-committal comments at closed-door business meetings.

But Brice Hortefeux, one of Sarkozy’s closest aides and a former government minister, told Europe 1 that all that could change in the New Year.

Hortefeux chairs the Association of Nicolas Sarkozy’s Friends, a lobbying group that is in the process of establishing a regional network throughout the country.

Europe 1 reports that Sarkozy is planning to raise his visibility by campaigning publicly for Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet in her bid to become the mayor of Paris next March. She is leading the charge as Sarkozy’s UMP party seeks to challenge the floundering left-wing administration.

The former president also has plans to take part in the European Parliamentary elections campaign in June.

The UMP’s German counterpart, Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party, has also invited him to speak in Berlin in the spring.

Next presidential election in 2017

Sarkozy will then ramp-up his return to the national political scene depending on the results of next year’s polls, according to Europe 1, a private radio station interestingly controlled by businessman Arnaud Lagardère, a friend of Sarkozy’s.

Although the next presidential election is not until 2017, the waning popularity of President François Hollande’s Socialist government and the continued rise of the far-right National Front might give Sarkozy the chance to offer capitalise voters an alternative.

But some in his own UMP party do not want to see a Sarkoy return.

“It seems impossible to me that Sarkozy can return to win,” wrote former Sarkozy adviser Dominique Paillé in his new book, “Sarkozy: A Losing Comeback”, published last week.

Paillé cited Sarkozy’s unwillingness to admit to the mistakes that led to his 2012 electoral defeat and continuing investigations into his financial dealings.

Date created : 2013-11-28

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