Nicolas Sarkozy has been tying up a few loose ends of his old life before starting anew and assuming the French Presidency on Wednesday. To predictably warm applause from fellow rightist UMP members, he took his official leave of the party which he has led since 2004.
Addressing the members he said: “ We have over the years developed close ties of friendship and affection. This sad moment of saying goodbye is mixed with great joy that our ideas have triumphed.”
Sarkozy is expected to unveil his new government at the end of this week but some old faces seem set for a return. Alan Juppé, a former right-wing prime minister and Francois Fillon – ex social affairs minister are likely to be included. But some of Sarkozy’s supporters have criticised his intention to embrace left-wing politicians. Sarkozy says he is keen to look beyond his conservative camp for his full team and draw on the best talent available.
That could bring in a former socialist health minister and supporter of Sarkozy’s presidential opponent. Bernard Kouchner, who is also the co-founder of the relief agency “Medecins Sans Frontieres”, has been mooted as France’s next foreign minister although he has not said if he would accept a government position.
The out-going president, Jacques Chirac, will today give his final televised address to the nation ahead of tomorrow’s ceremony marking the formal handover to his successor.