Arrogance cost former French president Nicolas Sarkozy the election in 2012.

Judging from statements he made today, he’s just as arrogant, if not more so today. He even brags of a bigger Facebook audience than Francois Hollande and his UMP party opponents, ignoring the fact that 60% of the electorate does not want him to run again.

Self-Appointed Savior Has “No Choice”

The Financial Times reports Sarkozy Pledges to Win Voters Back from French Far-Right.

In a television interview, the former centre-right president who failed to get re-elected in 2012, said: “I am going to reconquer those French people,” referring to the voters who in May helped the FN become the country’s most successful party in EU elections.

Mr Sarkozy, who on Friday confirmed his long-awaited return to politics less than three years after vowing to never again return to public life, said that his reappearance was due to necessity.

“I had no choice,” he said.

Less Energy, More Wisdom, More Facebook Hits

The Guardian reports Nicolas Sarkozy Sets Out Comeback Plans for France’s UMP party on TV

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was given a prime-time television news slot to explain his plans after announcing his return to frontline politics. Sarkozy set out his platform for the race to head the opposition UMP party, which will hold a hotly contested leadership vote in November.

For Sarkozy: The Return Part II, he was given 45 minutes to reintroduce himself to the French public.

If viewers had expected a changed, wiser and less confrontational Sarko, they were to be disappointed. Asking the presenter – twice – if he imagined that the former French leader had “just two brain cells”, Sarkozy launched into a vigorous defence of his five years in power and a vehement attack on the state of France and the current Socialist government.

Saying he had “perhaps less energy, but more wisdom”, Sarkozy explained that he felt duty-bound to return not through personal ambition, but because of the “lack of hope, the anger and the absence of vision” that François Hollande’s government had imposed on his compatriots.

Despite his protestations of apparent humility, Sarkozy, 59, said his announcement had eclipsed those of his UMP rivals. He told the JDD: “My audience on Facebook doubled that of Hollande’s press conference, and in a single day I’ve gained more new friends than [political rivals] Juppé and Fillon put together,” he said. “I’ve read that one third of people are interested in my return. That’s still 20 million people. How many would Hollande, Juppé or Fillon get if the same question was asked of them?”

A poll by CSA for the television chain BFMTV before the televised interview on Sunday evening found that six out of 10 French voters disapprove of his comeback.

Flashback May 6 2012

The Daily Mail reports Vulgar, rude and egotistical, President Bling-Bling has met his Waterloo.

Few will mourn the departure of a man who promised so much but delivered so little with his strutting cockiness and super-rich friends.

Nicolas Sarkozy made the right moves politically on the road to the presidency. But then came so many wrong moves in office, starting on the night of his election triumph when he celebrated with rich supporters at one of Paris’s most expensive restaurants before jetting off to continue partying on the big yacht of a billionaire businessman.

This set the tone for his tenure. He gave himself a 140 per cent pay rise, taking his annual salary above £300,000, then used state funds for late payment fines on his utility bills and £660 a day on fresh flowers

He spent £240million kitting out a new presidential plane, complete with £1million soundproofed doors on a luxurious double bedroom and £60,000 bread ovens to ensure fresh-baked baguettes. Then he became embroiled in a series of financial scandals, including claims he took illegal donations from the elderly heiress to the L’Oreal fortune.

Then there were pictures of the president checking his Blackberry during an audience with the Pope, which infuriated Roman Catholics, or the notorious occasion he swore at someone who disagreed with him at an agricultural fair.

‘His behaviour is vulgar, I’m afraid,’ said former defence minister Alain Richard.

‘He has lost millions of older and conservative voters with his bad manners. They just do not think it is presidential behaviour.’

During the campaign Mr Sarkozy apologised for his actions. But there was derision when his wife, who earned nearly £5million a year at the height of her modelling career, insisted they were modest folk who just liked watching soap operas.

The campaign culminated with another controversial meal when Mr Sarkozy joined 50 guests at a fund-raising lunch of quails’ eggs and blue lobster in Paris’s most expensive hotel. Afterwards, he was caught on camera slipping off his £50,000 gold watch, a present from his wife.

What’s Changed?


Mike “Mish” Shedlock