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Sarkozy targets public servants

Ex-president says they should be employed on five-year contracts as he starts to lay out his election programme

PUBLIC servants could be faced with reapplying for their jobs every five years under proposals by former president Nicolas Sarkozy as he sets out his plans to campaign for the leadership of his beleaguered UMP party.

In an interview to appear in Le Figaro he said that he wanted to end the job-for-life benefits of fonctionnaires by limiting them to five-year contracts and making public servants lose pay for the first day off sick.

He also said he would extend the retirement age to 63 and limit public expenditure to 50% of France’s gross domestic product.

Responding to criticism by his former prime minister, François Fillon, for not doing more to end the 35-hour week while in the Elysée, Mr Sarkozy said “businesses that wanted to come out of the 35 hours after internal negotiations could do so”.

He added that he would re-introduce the tax-free overtime that was ended by President Hollande.

Mr Sarkozy said he “wanted to give back hope” to people but another former president, Jacques Chirac, said that if France was to have any hope of pulling out of the economic crisis it should turn to Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who was the best placed to lead the country.

The interview with Le Figaro is appearing as two former bosses of the UMP’s PR firm Bygmalion were charged with forgery over Mr Sarkozy’s failed 2012 presidential election bid – it is claimed €18.5million of election meeting invoices were falsely charged to the party and not the campaign.

Although Mr Sarkozy has only so far announced plans to stand for the presidency of the UMP, it is seen as only the first step towards a 2017 bid to return to the Elysée.
Photo: Nicolas Sarkozy on Fr2 - Christophe Russeill-FTV

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