France's Sarkozy mulling 2017 re-election bid - paper
By Nicholas Vinocur | October 4, 2012 4:00 AM EST
Nicolas Sarkozy has told a friend he has "no choice" but to seek re-election to the French presidency in 2017, weekly paper Le Canard Enchaine reported on Wednesday, after saying he would quit politics following his election defeat in May.
Sarkozy has kept a low profile since losing to Socialist Francois Hollande and has made only one public statement, criticising his successor's policy on Syria.
"Given the disastrous shape France is likely to be in five years from now, I'll have no choice in 2017," Le Canard Enchaine quoted Sarkozy as telling one-time aide and former agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire.
"The question is not whether I come back but if I have the choice, morally speaking, of not coming back."
An aide to Le Maire, still a lawmaker, said he was not commenting on the report in Le Canard Enchaine, an irreverent and widely read source of political gossip.
Sarkozy, 57, has embraced a leisurely life since May, with holidays in Morocco and southern France as he considers his next step after decades in politics.
Friends have been quoted in the French media as saying Sarkozy has been busy perfecting his English in preparation for a push on the high-paying international speaking circuit.
His name is also cited frequently in the context of the contest for leadership of his centre-right UMP party, with lead candidates Jean-Francois Cope and former prime minister Francois Fillon both claiming allegiance to him.
In a reference to Sarkozy's influence, the cover of Le Point magazine this week featured a picture of him looking tanned and smiling with a few days' beard growth, under the headline: "Hello, I'm back!"
Despite record unpopularity as president, Sarkozy has been rising in the public's esteem, with an Ifop poll in August showing 53 percent support for him to run for president again.
Meanwhile, confidence in Hollande has fallen to a new low of 41 percent from 50 percent, according to a TNS Sofres poll published on Wednesday, after his government unveiled a budget packed with tax hikes and unemployment surged to a record level.
"Morally, I cannot eschew my obligations to the French," Le Canard Enchaine quoted Sarkozy as saying.
If he does seek re-election, Sarkozy would be the first president to do so in non-consecutive terms.
His wife, former top model Carla Bruni, is meanwhile making a tentative return to her singing career on a TV show, a year after the birth of the couple's daughter.
(Editing by Catherine Bremer and Alison Williams)
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha Leaks Online: Release Date, Five Features to Wait for New Smart Phone
- Photos of Motorola Moto X+1 Prototype and Specs Leak Online, Release Date, Four Fresh Features Revealed
- Sony Xperia Z3: Release Date, Five Features to Expect from New Android Smart Phone
- Freshly Leaked Apple iPad Air 2 Cases Confirm Touch ID Sensor; Release Date, Limited Specs and Price Listed
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers