Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is to run for the presidency in 2017, as he announced that he is stepping down as head of his conservative party to pave way for the return bid.
Sarkozy, who lost the presidency in 2012 to Socialist party’s François Hollande, told the members on Saturday that it was his last meeting as head of France’s Les Republicains party.
“This national council will be my last one as president of Les Republicains,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
He added, “This primary will be a time of competition between some strong personalities, between people of significant talent. When the right goes into battle it has a front on the left and a front on the extreme right. That is why it is unacceptable that we should attack each other.”
The party faces primaries in November and Sarkozy is expected to face tough competition against 13 others in his party who have already declared their candidacies.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Alain Juppe, who is Sarkozy’s main competitor, has criticised him for the confusion.
The supporters of Les Republicains and other right and centre-right parties will in November vote to decide their candidate for the 2017 presidential election.
The winner will then face the far-right National Front’s Marine Le Pen and a Socialist candidate likely to be Hollande.
Sarkozy will have to resign two weeks before the application deadline on September 9, as the party head if he wants to run for the presidential primaries.