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Sarkozy announces candidacy for French presidential elections

Sarkozy announces candidacy for French presidential elections

Paris: France's former conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced he will seek his party's nomination to stand in next year's French presidential election.

In an extract of a book released on his Facebook page and Twitter account on Monday, Sarkozy, 61, wrote: "I have decided to be a candidate to the 2017 presidential election."

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has made no secret of his ambition to avenge his 2012 defeat by the Socialist François Hollande.

"I've felt I had the force to wage this battle at a so tormented time of history," he added.

Sarkozy is expected to lead a campaign based on hardline ideas on immigration and security in a country marked by recent terror attacks.

France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November, in which 130 were killed. A terror attack in Nice last month saw a lorry mow through crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day, killing more than 80.

Sarkozy said France's “top battle” was over how “to defend our lifestyle without being tempted to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world”.

He wants to ban the Muslim headscarf from universities and public companies, limit the French nationality rights of children born to foreign parents, and ban pork-free options in school canteens, meaning Muslim and Jewish children would no longer be offered a substitute meal, writes The Guardian.

He has also scoffed at what he called “legal niceties” in the fight against terrorism, prompting the left to warn that his treatment of suspected jihadis could be akin to that of Guantánamo Bay.

Sarkozy is the challenger and not the favourite in the right's primary race. The leader in the polls and currently France's favourite politician is Alain Juppé, the mayor of Bordeaux and a former prime minister, who served as Sarkozy's foreign minister.

Since 2010, Sarkozy's name has been mentioned in several legal cases relating to corruption and influence-peddling, but he has never been convicted of wrongdoing or been sent to trial.

The French presidential election will take place next year in two rounds in April and May.

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