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Sarkozy’s Campaign of Fear

PARIS – Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement that he will seek the presidency again in 2017 should come as no surprise. Indeed, it was hard to take seriously his declaration, following his loss to the Socialist Party’s François Hollande in the 2012 race, that he was done with politics. Whatever you think about Sarkozy, there is no denying that he has never been one to stay out of the spotlight for long.

The truth is that Sarkozy never really accepted his defeat. Like Germany after World War I, he instead became consumed with a desire for revenge, compounded by his long-held and poorly hidden lust for power.

Now, emboldened by Hollande’s unpopularity, Sarkozy seems to think that the French are ready to welcome him back. Instead of fretting about his own bad reputation, still reflected in public-opinion polls, he seems to be fantasizing about a repeat of the 2007 election, when he triumphed easily over the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, Hollande’s former partner.

That may not be so unreasonable. Whether people like Sarkozy or not, the fact is that, during Hollande’s tenure, France’s social, economic, and security situation has deteriorated – and many are holding Hollande directly accountable.