After Party Name Change, Sarkozy Sets Sights on Rival

Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, March 19 (EPP)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy won a political victory this weekend when conservative party members overwhelmingly backed his proposal to rebrand themselves as Les Républicains. A more difficult battle lies ahead: to beat Alain Juppé in the party’s presidential primaries.

83 percent of party members supported the name change; a much higher figure than the 64.5 percent that backed Sarkozy’s leadership bid in November. The former president, who narrowly lost reelection against the Socialist Party’s François Hollande in 2012, looks to be staging an impressive political comeback. Read more “After Party Name Change, Sarkozy Sets Sights on Rival”

Sarkozy Defeats Nationalists, Claims Local Election Victory

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, March 19
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, March 19 (EPP)

France’s conservatives claimed victory in local elections on Sunday, defeating the Euroskeptic National Front in the first voting round and pushing the ruling Socialists into third place.

The win is a boon for party leader Nicolas Sarkozy, who came out of retirement last year to seek reelection in 2017.

His Union pour un mouvement populaire won around 30 percent support nationwide, according to early results and exit polls. If the results hold up, the right should be able to take over more than seventy départements.

Preelection polls had the conservatives neck and neck with Marine Le Pen’s National Front, but in the end the anti-immigrant party got only 26 percent support, the same as in elections for the European Parliament last year. Read more “Sarkozy Defeats Nationalists, Claims Local Election Victory”

Sarkozy Seeks to Outflank French Nationalists

Nicolas Sarkozy
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy attends a meeting of European conservative party leaders in Brussels, March 19 (EPP)

French conservative party leader Nicolas Sarkozy has lurched to the right, declaring his opposition to Muslim students wearing headscarfs in public universities and calling on high schools to stop serving halal meals.

In doing so, the former president, who staged a political comeback last year, outdid Marine Le Pen’s National Front, which is neck and neck with his party in polls for local elections this month.

The Front, well-known for its aggressively secular and anti-immigrant platform, had hesitated to call for banning halal meals from public schools, but it quickly endorsed Sarkozy’s proposal. Read more “Sarkozy Seeks to Outflank French Nationalists”

Leadership Vote Shows French Right Dependent on Sarkozy

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was overwhelmingly elected leader of his conservative party on Saturday, winning 64.5 support in an internal election.

The strong support should help Sarkozy see off more centrist challengers when his party nominates its presidential candidate for the 2017 election. However, it also underscores the Union pour un mouvement populaire‘s dependence on a single leader, raising questions about its long-term viability.

Sarkozy announced his comeback last month, lamenting France’s “humiliation” under President François Hollande in a television interview. He also rejected the protectionist and anti-European policies of his party’s right-wing opponents in the Front national. “The fifth power in the world should not have to choose between the humiliating spectacle of today and total isolation,” he said. Read more “Leadership Vote Shows French Right Dependent on Sarkozy”

France’s Sarkozy Starts Political Comeback

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has launched his political comeback, standing for the leadership of his conservative party in what is almost certainly a stepping stone to another presidential bid in 2017.

Le Figaro, France’s leading conservative newspaper, reports that more than half of party members had voted in the leadership contest as of Saturday afternoon. Read more “France’s Sarkozy Starts Political Comeback”

Sarkozy Laments France’s “Humiliation” Under Hollande

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday he had “no choice” but to return to politics because his country lacked hope and perspective.

“The fifth power in the world should not have to choose between the humiliating spectacle of today and total isolation,” he said. “That is the perspective of the Front national.”

France is the world’s fifth largest economy. Read more “Sarkozy Laments France’s “Humiliation” Under Hollande”

Sarkozy to Return to Politics, Stand for Party Leadership

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced his return to politics on Friday, saying he would stand for the leadership of his conservative Union pour un mouvement populaire. The position could be a stepping stone to another presidential bid in 2017.

In a long Facebook message, the former president argued it would be “a form of abandonment” to remain merely a spectator while the French political debate disintegrated and the opposition remained divided. Read more “Sarkozy to Return to Politics, Stand for Party Leadership”

Sarkozy Urged to Intervene in Party’s Leadership Dispute

France’s conservative party is seen as on the verge of collapse as the two candidates who stood for its leadership in a primary election last week refuse to concede defeat. After former party leader Alain Juppé failed to reconcile the two camps on Sunday, pressure mounted on Nicolas Sarkozy to step in and diffuse the standoff.

Sarkozy, who lost reelection in May’s presidential election, had lunch with François Fillon on Monday in which he “neither encouraged nor discouraged” the man who served as his prime minister for five years, a source close to Fillon told Le Figaro.

Although the former budget minister Jean-François Copé was declared the winner last week by a margin of less than one hundred votes, Fillon insists that the primary election results from France’s overseas territories shifted the outcome in his favor. An appeals committee disputed his claim on Monday, invalidating the results from New Caledonia in the Pacific and two voting stations in Alpes-Maritimes in the southeast of France to put Copé ahead by 952 votes. Read more “Sarkozy Urged to Intervene in Party’s Leadership Dispute”

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Foreign Policy Should Be Vindicated

Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Barack Obama of the United States are reflected in a mirror during a bilateral meeting in Caen, June 6, 2009
Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Barack Obama of the United States are reflected in a mirror during a bilateral meeting in Caen, June 6, 2009 (White House/Pete Souza)

George W. Bush and his acolytes are these days fond of claiming that history will eventually judge the administration of the former American president kindly. This is supposedly especially true of their foreign policy legacy: the “freedom agenda.” They went as far as to claim the “Arab Spring” as vindication.

Bush and the neoconservatives are unlikely to ever find their swan song adequately praised in history manuals but by no means is foreign policy out of fashion as far as swan songs go.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency for one was controversial enough but unlike Bush’s, his track record may yet be vindicated. Read more “Nicolas Sarkozy’s Foreign Policy Should Be Vindicated”