NICOLAS Sarkozy admitted he had made mistakes during his time in office as he gave his first television interview after finally confirming his return to politics.
The former president said in the 45-minute interview on France 2 he had been “tempted to want to do everything himself”.
He blamed himself for losing the 2012 presidential elections to François Hollande, admitting that because he had had so much energy and self-belief, he had been guilty of believing that he could act alone.
He said he now realises that there is no “individual success”. He went on to say that “maybe age offers a little less energy but more wisdom.”
Speaking after announcing his return to politics on his Facebook page, he told the prime-time politics show that he owed it to France to return. “Not only do I want to, but I don’t have the choice. I want to return to the French everything that they gave me.”
He said he would be able to offer a credible alternative in the 2017 presidential elections and accused President François Hollande of having delivered a “long litany of lies,” during his presidential campaign. But he did not call for him to resign.
Suggesting that he would want to reunite his troubled and divided UMP party, he said he needed to “work with all the members of my family”.
In particular, he singled out two former prime ministers – who are also running for leadership of the UMP in November - who he said he would “need” when he returned to office: Alain Juppé, who he called “a partner, a friend” and François Fillon, with who he said he had worked “without a cloud”.
Mr Sarkozy accused the socialist government of "humiliating families and humiliating people who love the family" by introducing the legislation allowing same-sex marriage, though he said getting rid of the law was not a priority when so many were jobless.
However, a poll by CSA for news channel BMTV said that 61% of people disapprove of his intentions to put himself forward as UMP leader, and two out of three do not want him as candidate in the next presidential election.
He is still popular with UMP voters as 89% said they were happy he is running to be party leader and 86% welcomed his plans to run in 2017.