In an exclusive interview on France 2, former president of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy finally laid bare his intentions to “save France”
After retiring from politics two years ago following his defeat in the presidential elections to François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed last Friday by means of Facebook that he would be putting his name forward for the leadership of the right-of-centre UMP party.
On Sunday evening, he appeared in a 42-minute televised interview to explain his reasons for his comeback. Speculation has been rife for several months during an ever-worsening presidential term for François Hollande. When Sarkozy was president, many people in France disliked his brash style and his pro-liberal economic views (by inherently socialist French standards, that is), but the mob have been wishing his return with every passing crisis, damning statistic and governmental collapse.
Sarkozy had kept silent up to now, but the time, he evidently feels, has come to make what will surely be a triumphant return to the top of French political life. Things just cannot get any worse for Hollande – the most unpopular French president in history, and the people of France are crying out for a new leader who is prepared to take issues by the scruff of the neck.
Just as France at odds with itself needed a Napoleon in 1799, so too, it seems, that another no-nonsense diminutive leader will be needed to allow France to achieve its destiny. The straight-shooting Sarkozy made no bones, as ever, about his political ambitions or his importance to France in an interview in which he was careful to remain as humble as he dared. Below are a few snippets that give an insight into the man who would be France’s next president.
The 2012 presidential defeat:
“Have I had a good look at what happened over the last 2.5 years? I’ve thought about it a lot. In the ‘pantheon’ of my value-set, there is one very important word – responsibility. If I lost, then that’s my responsibility.”
Regrets or Mistakes:
“One such (mistake) for example, is this idea that you can achieve success alone, when there’s no such thing as solo success. It’s age and failure that make you think about this. There is a temptation to want to do everything yourself… I wanted so much that people wouldn’t be disappointed… With the benefit of hindsight, I realised without wanting to, that I might have hurt people along the way. In general, I’m courteous and fairly well brought up – at least I hope so.”
The Reasons for Coming Back:
“I have thought about it a lot. Really, it was a decision that came after much mature reflection. The question is not wondering if I’m the man of providence. The question is something else altogether. I have no say in it – France to me is like second nature. I can’t do anything about it – that’s the way it is. I looked at it (the situation in France) over the last two and a half years and I have never seen such anger, such despair.“We are amongst the most rare of countries where there is such despair… Let me just say something: With all the experience that I’ve garnered over the years, can I really say ‘France is crumbling, but I’ll stay at home and abandon the people’? I don’t have any ridiculous pretensions about being a saviour but I don’t want to see my country condemned. Not only do I want to do it, but I don’t have any choice in the matter. I must give back to my country what it has given me.
“I certainly have a lot of faults and I don’t claim to have always done the right thing. But I have not lied. I have not lied. What is left now of the refrain ‘I, president’? A long string of lies…”
Presidential Mistresses and Affairs:
“I want everyone to understand what I wanted to do. Do you think that if I had something to hide deep inside that I would expose myself to the full glare of a political comeback? Can you give me some credit?… If I was afraid, would I come back? I’m no better than any other citizen, but I’m no worse either. I don’t like injustice.”
“I don’t want to get into making fun of anyone. There’s too much despair in this country, I don’t want to use any of the time allocated to us here to criticise my successor. After all, he is is own master. His first two years were dedicated to destroying what I had done because it was I who had done it… I don’t want to get into any spat with Mr Hollande. The French people who watch us are used to these political jousts.”