France’s political right: Sarkozy Resartus?

Sarko’s bouncing back

AFTER losing the presidential election last year, Nicolas Sarkozy promised to retire from French political life. But his vow was unconvincing. A political street-fighter and activist since student days, he was an unlikely hermit. So his visit on July 8th to the UMP party’s office in Paris was the subject of hysterical intrigue. Fans were lined up to cheer him. “Sarkozy superstar” ran a headline in Le Monde. Is this the start of a political comeback?The reason for his visit was that, on July 4th, the constitutional council invalidated his 2012 campaign accounts because he overspent (by 2%) the legal cap and made party use of public presidential trips. This was not just a public humiliation, but also leaves the UMP in deep financial trouble, as it was relying on the state to reimburse €11m ($ 14m) of campaign spending. The party has launched an appeal for private donations—dubbed a “Sarkothon”. Mr Sarkozy himself gave the party €7,500, the maximum for individual contributions.Yet as a master of political stage-management Mr Sarkozy turned a snub into an opportunity. After saying he would no…

The Economist: Europe

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