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Sarkozy ‘has made up mind’

The former president will announce his intention to stand as UMP leader next week, says a friend and senator

NICOLAS Sarkozy has made his mind up to stand as UMP Party leader – and potentially as a 2017 presidential candidate – says a friend, senator Roger Karoutchi.

Although the ex-president still has not made a formal announcement, Mr Karoutchi told LCI and Metronews : “There will be no surprises. He’s thought it over enough now and in his mind the decision is made. He’ll probably announce it around September 20 [ie. next Saturday].”

The senator said he hoped Sarkozy would be the man to bring together different factions of the party, and he backed changing the party’s name, an idea that Sarkozy is thought to favour.

Former prime minister Alain Juppé, who has also announced his intention to stand in UMP Party presidential primaries said in an interview with Valeurs Actuelles yesterday that he sees Sarkozy as his “main competitor”.

However, if Sarkozy is going to make a comeback, he will have to hurry up – applications to head the UMP are all supposed to be in by September 30, with an election expected to be held next month.

This will bring to an end a complicated situation for the scandal-hit party, which has been provisionally headed by a group of three former prime ministers since leader Jean-François Copé stood down in May.

While Sarkozy is still popular among grassroots members of the UMP, the country as a whole is lukewarm about a comeback. In a poll by LH2 for Le Nouvel Observateur fewer than three out of 10 said they wanted him to stand as leader of the UMP.

As for 2017, a new Ifop poll for Valeurs Actuelles puts Bordeaux mayor Juppé in the lead with 30% preferring him, followed by Sarkozy at 21% and Sarkozy-era prime minister François Fillon at just 5%.

Photo: EEP

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