Skip to main content

Sarkozy considering return to French politics

By Dheepthi Namasivayam, CNN
updated 12:32 PM EST, Wed March 6, 2013
French former President Nicolas Sarkozy on January 28, 2013 in Paris.
French former President Nicolas Sarkozy on January 28, 2013 in Paris.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Patriotic "duty" may force former President Sarkozy back to politics, he tells a magazine
  • He says he balks at picking up France "where the Socialist Party will leave it"
  • A poll says 56% of his party supporters want him to be the candidate in 2017

(CNN) -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will consider returning to politics to save his floundering center-right party, not because he wants to but because of patriotic "duty," according to an article to be published Thursday in a right-leaning magazine.

In an eight-page special called "In the head of Nicolas Sarkozy," the former president discusses his political future in public for the first time.

He is quoted as saying in Valeurs Actuelles magazine that he has no desire to return to politics, a world that "bores him to death," and balks at the task of "picking up France in the state where the Socialist Party will leave it."

But, Sarkozy said, "there will be unfortunately a moment when the question will no longer be: 'Do you want to?' but 'Do you have a choice?'"

2012: Sarkozy concedes election

"In this case, I cannot continue to say: 'I am happy, I take my daughter to school and I give conferences all around the world.' In this case, effectively, I will be obliged to come back. Not by desire. By duty. Only because it is for France."

According to a French Institute of Public Opinion poll released Wednesday, 56% of the supporters of his party -- the Union for a Popular Movement, known as UMP -- prefer Sarkozy as their candidate for the 2017 presidential election.

In the article, Sarkozy criticizes President Francois Hollande, saying the Socialist Party leader "has smashed everything that I managed to build with (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel. Not because he does not get along with her but because his politics are completely opposed to that of Germany."

On the subject of Mali, Sarkozy questioned the government's purpose: "What are we doing over there? Apart from supporting coup-makers and attempting to control a country that is three times the size of France with 4,000 men?"

Since being defeated by Hollande last May -- and vowing never to return to politics -- Sarkozy has kept a low profile, working at his law firm in central Paris.

But rumors of a comeback have intensified since the UMP's confused attempt to elect a successor last November, in which both candidates Francois Fillon and Jean-Francois Cope claimed victory amid intraparty squabbling and allegations of vote-rigging.

After a two-day gridlock, Cope was declared the winner. Fillon disputed this and the pair eventually agreed to a re-election later this year.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 8:27 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
updated 8:22 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
updated 5:34 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT