Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made the announcement that he will seek to regain his old job back. He lost his reelection in 2012 to current President Francois Hollande, a socialist with amazingly low poll numbers.
The announcement comes as no surprise to anyone attune to French politics. Sarkozy returned to the limelight in 2014 when he took the lead of Les Republicans, France’s main center-right party. Many then viewed him as being capable of mounting a come-back campaign to Elysee Palace.
Sarkozy’s return comes at a time when his presidential successor, Francois Hollande, is facing voter backlash as terrorism continues to plague the nation. Hollande has been accused of not doing enough to protect French citizens from radical Islam and slow to respond to terrorist threats. His job approval ratings have reached historically low numbers and a multitude of candidates have lined up to oppose him in 2017 – including politicians from the right and left. Hollande’s fellow socialists believe he betrayed them when he embraced market-friendly reforms.
Sarkozy has along the way been hammering the current president to get tough on immigration and buckle down on Islamist militancy. As the attacks have continued, the French have overwhelmingly embraced this sentiment. So much so, Sarkozy may face stiffer opposition to his right.
Marie Le Pen’s National Front party has gone from political oblivion to national prominence. Considered a “far-right” party – a term used to define certain political parties in Europe - National Front has seen its popularity rise significantly on a nationalist message of anti-immigration and zero tolerance on radical Islam.
The French presidential showdown in 2017 may end up being between Sarkozy, Le Pen, and Hollande (assuming he survives his own socialist intra-party fight).