There is growing speculation about the possible political return of former president Nicolas Sarkozy – who has kept a low profile since his election defeat last year.
The party he used to lead, the centre-right UMP, has been criticised for its lack of direction.
UMP Deputy Secretary General Geoffroy Didier said he believed there was only one man who could turn the party around.
“I actually wish for the return of Sarkozy because we need his experience and authority,” Didier told euronews.
“Will he return? Does he want to? I don’t know, I can’t speak for him. The UMP now has a president, Jean Francois Copé. But it is true that the person who could truly build some unity in the UMP is probably Sarkozy,” Didier continued.
A Sarkozy return could upset the ambitions of both Copé and Francois Fillon, who fought a bitterly-contested battle for leadership of the party last year.
Francois Hollande – whose approval ratings sunk to a new low this month and whose party lost its eighth consecutive by-election at the weekend – will be watching keenly for the potential re-appearance of his arch-rival on the political stage.