, PARIS, Mar 6 – Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested he could return to politics, not out of a desire for power but out of a “duty” to the French people.
Right-winger Sarkozy, defeated by Socialist President Francois Hollande in May, told weekly business magazine Valeurs Actuelles that he may have no choice but to return.
“There will unfortunately come a time when the question will no longer be ‘Do you want to?’ but ‘Do you have any choice?'” Sarkozy said in an interview to be published Thursday.
“In this case I won’t be able to keep saying: ‘I’m happy, I take my girl to school, I go to conferences all over the world,'” he said. “In this case I will be required to go. Not by desire. By duty. And only because it is France.”
Defeated after a single five-year term, Sarkozy withdrew from politics following May’s presidential vote, saying he wanted to spend more time with his ex-supermodel wife Carla Bruni and their newborn daughter Giulia.
His right-wing UMP party has since struggled to find a successor, nearly splitting over the choice between Sarkozy’s ex-prime minister Francois Fillon and party chief Jean-Francois Cope.
Sarkozy, 58, is hugely popular with party rank-and-file and many have urged him to make a comeback in the 2017 presidential vote.
His remarks came with Hollande suffering record low approval ratings as he struggles to revive France’s stagnant economy and reverse rising unemployment.
A poll by firm IFOP released this week showed Hollande with an approval rating of only 37 percent, a six-percent drop from a month earlier.