Sarkozy to run for French presidency next year

PARIS (AP) — France’s former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy has formally announced he is running for the presidency again in next year’s elections.

In an extract of a book released on his Facebook page and Twitter account Monday, Sarkozy wrote: “I have decided to be a candidate to the 2017 presidential election.”

“I’ve felt I had the force to wage this battle at a so tormented time of history,” he added.

Sarkozy, 61, is expected to lead a campaign based on hardline ideas on immigration and security in a country marked by recent terror attacks.

He must first win the primaries organized by the French right in November where he’s expected to face tough competition.

The former prime minister under Jacques Chirac in the 1990s, Alain Juppe, 71, is the current favorite in the polls. Other contenders from the conservative party include Sarkozy’s own former prime minister, Francois Fillon.

Sarkozy lost the presidential election to Socialist Francois Hollande in 2012 after his first term.

When he left the Elysee Palace, he said he was leaving politics and would find a different way to serve his country.

Yet he made a successful comeback in 2014, winning the leadership of the conservative party, known at the time as the UMP. He explained he was moved to return to politics by the “hopelessness, anger and lack of future” that he sensed among the French. Since then the party changed its name to “the Republicans.”

Since 2010, Sarkozy’s name has been mentioned in several legal cases relating to corruption and influence-peddling, but he has never been convicted of wrongdoing or been sent to trial.

The French presidential election will take place next year in two rounds in April and May.

The race remains wide open with primaries to be organized by the left in January. Unpopular Hollande has not said if he will run for re-election.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, has already announced her candidacy.

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