Soumaya El Filali
Soumaya El Filali
Rabat – Nicolas Sarkozy announced Sunday his withdrawal from politics, after losing in the French Right’s first primary for next year’s presidency.
Leading a campaign centered on national identity, immigration, and Islam, Nicolas Sarkozy came third with only 20.7%, preceded by Alain Juppe with 28.4% and Francois Fillon, who was once Sarkozy’s prime minister during his 2007-2012 presidency, and who won the first round with 44.2% of votes.
The outcome was a crushing blow to the former French president and a surprise to many, as only a month ago polls credited Mr. Fillon with less than 15% of the first round votes.
However, the former president held no bitterness against the outcome, admitting that he failed to convince a majority of voters. Sarkozy said he would endorse Francois Fillon and his political choices, which he claimed to be closer to his own.
Mr. Sarkozy further announced, in his concession speech that withdraw from politics for good to embark on a more personal focused life.
“It is not easy to live with a man who sparks so much passion. It is time for me to live a life with more private passion and less public passion. Good luck France,” Mr. Sarkozy said, addressing not only his supporters but also his wife and family.
Nicolas Sarkozy left his supporters the freedom of choice for their new president. However, he called on his party’s supporters “to never take the road of extremism,” in a tacit reference to the Front National. “France deserves so much better,” he said.
Francois Fillon and Alain Juppé are scheduled to face each other in a run-off next Sunday. The winner of the Republican primary is likely to face Marine Le Pen, leader of the anti-EU, anti-immigrant Front National in the ultimate presidential run-off of next May.