Sarkozy's Comeback Will Be Challenging, Entertaining

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy announced he plans to return to politics, but stiff competition and a host of legal woes stand in his way.
Posted at 10:46 PM, Sep 19, 2014

Il est de retour! Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who retired from politics after losing his reelection bid, announced Friday he's making a comeback.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Sarkozy announced he will offer France "a new political choice" and seek leadership of his conservative UMP party, currently in opposition to France's Socialist government.

A charismatic politician, Sarkozy was first elected president in 2007 on his promise to energize France's economy. But he was criticized for his lavish lifestyle and his public divorce and remarriage while in office. (Video via BBC)

Sarkozy took a big popularity hit for his handling of the 2008 financial crisis, and he lost to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande in 2012. (Video via The Telegraph)

Sarkozy's been openly flirting with a comeback for some time now, and he's still a popular figure within the UMP. Few observers doubt Sarkozy's return will eventually lead to a run for president in 2017.

And he's chosen a good time to get back in the game. Economic woes and personal scandals have made Hollande's administration even more unpopular than Sarkozy was, according to opinion polls. (Video via Euronews)

But there's quite a few roadblocks standing in the way of another Sarkozy administration.

For one thing, he won't be the only UMP candidate eyeing a run for president. Former Prime Minister Alain Juppe is another popular contender for the role.

And Sarkozy's still a divisive figure outside of his party — his infamy could jeopardize the UMP's bid for control. One political analyst described Sarkozy's return as "a very good thing for him, but a very bad thing for the UMP."

Oh, and did we mention the corruption charges?

Sarkozy is still embroiled in at least half a dozen investigations for political wrongdoing, and was detained for police questioning in June. For his part Sarkozy has slammed the charges as a political witch hunt.

But as one BBC analystwrites, whether Sarkozy's comeback soars or flops, it certainly won't be boring.

"For years Nicolas Sarkozy has been by far the most interesting and exciting figure in French politics. Controversial, certainly. But he draws attention. He makes news."

Sarkozy has yet to offer many details about his return to politics; observers expect the former president to expand on his announcement in the coming few days.

This video includes images from Getty Images.