Nicolas Sarkozy announces bid to retake French presidency

PARIS, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Four years after he was booted from office, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that he will try next year to return to Élysée Palace.

Sarkozy announced his intention to run in next year’s election on Monday, saying he “felt he had the strength to lead the combat at such a tormented moment in our history” — referring to recent terrorist attacks in the European nation.

The announcement was made on his Twitter page, which also contained a plug for his new book, in which some of his presidential priorities are outlined.

“This book is the starting point,” his tweet said.

Sarkozy’s first obstacle in reaching the presidency comes in November, when he must win the Republicans’ primary. A centre-right candidate, similar to current President Francois Hollande, Sarkozy switched party affiliation from the Union of a Popular Movement to the Republicans last year.

The former French president, though, must go up against several other hopefuls to secure the support of the centre-right — including Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe, both former prime ministers under Sarkozy’s administration.

If Sarkozy wins November’s primary, he will challenge Hollande for the presidency in April — a rerun from 2012. Hollande won that contest with 51 percent of the vote.

Prior to his first term as president, between 2007 and 2012, Sarkozy served as France’s budget, finance and interior minister. He remained out of politics for two years after his defeat, but returned in 2014 to take over his party’s chair post.

Sarkozy’s stint as president of France was heavily criticized by some who argued he didn’t accomplish many of the economic goals he promised during his campaign. Sarkozy, though, blamed some of those failures on the economic hardships of 2008 and 2009.

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