Encore For Sarkozy? Former French President May Seek Top Office In 2017

 @MayaErgas
on October 03 2012 4:11 PM
  • Sarkozy
    Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of euros from Bettencourt during his 2007 presidential campaign. Reuters
  • France's President Sarkozy leaves a G20 and G8 news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris
    France's President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves a G20 and G8 news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 24, 2011. REUTERS
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French and British media are reporting that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a modern case study in the Napoleon complex, wants to be president again.

Not until 2017, but still, the man has plans.

In an interview with the French investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaîné, former Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire said Sarkozy would run again for “moral” reasons.

According to Le Maire, Sarkozy said that “given the state of France, I will have no [other] choice in 2017,” the UK’s Daily Mail translated. “Morally I cannot discard the French.”

This despite an ongoing corruption probe into Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign finances, both the Daily Mail and the Telegraph pointed out.

Judge Jean-Michel Gentil ordered Sarkozy’s home and office searched last July on suspicions that France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Lilane Bettencourt, contributed several brown envelopes full of cash to Sarkozy’s campaign. A separate probe, called the “Karachi affair,” is looking into Sarkozy’s suspected involvement in illegal arms sales to Pakistan, the Telegraph said.

Sarkozy has, of course, denied all charges of wrongdoing in these cases.

But current President François Hollande’s approval ratings are dropping and his policies are unpopular, and when Le Maire appeared on the French TV program "Preuve Par 3," he told the cameras that anyone else vying for the head of UMP, Sarkozy’s former party, would have to be “en garde,” Huffington Post French reported.

“He is in fine form,” Le Maire said. “Very determined,” and added that he thought it would be “very difficult” for anyone to challenge Sarkozy.

Of course on Wednesday, when the Canard article was published, Le Maire denied Sarkozy had said anything to him about anything. “What he told me is between him and me,” Le Maire said.

Sarkozy presided over one of the greatest periods of economic decline if France’s history. His approval rating at the end of his term as president stood at 36 percent, and the Telegraph declared him to be “the most unpopular president in French history.”

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