- Mr Sarkozy is quoted as saying: ‘Given the state of France, I will have no choice in 2017’
- He also allegedly said: ‘Morally I can not discard the French’
- This is despite fact he is still facing a corruption probe
Nicolas Sarkozy will make an audacious bid to become President of France for the second time in 2017, it was claimed today.
Bruno Le Maire, his former agriculture minister, is said to have heard the former head of state claim ‘moral’ reasons for a return to high office.
This is despite the fact that the 57-year-old conservative, who lost the presidential election in May after five years in power, is facing corruption enquiries in France.
Le Canard Enchaine, the Paris investigative weekly, quotes Mr Sarkozy as saying: ‘Given the disastrous state in which France risks finding itself in five years’ time, I will have no choice in 2017.
‘The question is not whether I return, but whether I have a choice morally in regards to France not to return. Morally I can not discard the French.’
Such confidence will raise eyebrows among those who believe that Sarkozy’s electoral defeat to the Socialist Francois Hollande was indicative of how little he achieved.
After originally styling himself a French Margaret Thatcher who would reform his country, he presided over a period of economic decline.
There were frequent corruption allegations, with official enquiries into alleged wrong-doings still active.
Judge Jean-Michel Gentil believes that Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oreal cosmetics heiress and France’s richest woman, may have illegally contributed two payments of 400,000 euros (335,000 pounds) each to Mr Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign.
Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke is also set to question Mr Sarkozy about his part in the so-called ‘Karachi Affair’, which involves illegal arms sales to Pakistan and the murders of 11 French workers in a bomb attack.
There are also compelling claims that Mr Sarkozy received millions of pounds in illegal funding from Colonel Gaddafi.
Mr Sarkozy has regularly denied any wrong-doing, but has so far made no effort to prove his innocence over any of the allegations.
The Paris home he shares with his third wife Carla Bruni, the former supermodel, was raided by police earlier this year, along with offices linked to the former president.
Mr Sarkozy has not taken up a new job since losing the election four months ago, but is believed to want to break into the lucrative public speaking circuit.
Mr Sarkozy has at least three classes a week in English, as he prepares for his first money-spinning conference in New York in September, where he has been invited by a ‘large bank’.