Forecast for months, now its official.
Former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed his presidential comeback bid on Monday, breaking the news on social media.
“I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history,” Sarkozy wrote on his social media pages ahead of the publication on Wednesday of his book “Everything for France” in which he will set out his campaign priorities.
Sarkozy has done little to conceal his desire to get back into the Elysée Palace since returning to high-level politics in late 2014.
Before battling for the top job, however, he will first have to beat a dozen other contenders vying to represent the centre-right. Ex-prime minister Alain Juppé is currently his strongest rival ahead of a primary contest in November.
In addition, legal troubles surrounding party financing and over-spending by Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential campaign, as well as his divisive personality could trip him up.
Sarkozy: Abrasive, divisive and running again to lead France https://t.co/hRfpvxRVW8— AFP news agency (@AFP) 22 août 2016
On the left too, a steady stream of candidates are coming forward to stake their claim for the presidency.
The latest, former Industry Minister and rebel Socialist Arnaud Montebourg, threw his hat into the ring on Sunday.
Far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melanchon announced back in February that he would stand, in a move that risks splitting the left-of-centre vote.
But with the clock ticking and the 2017 presidential poll just eight months away, many eyes are on Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front. Recent terror attacks in France have shifted the focus of the campaign to security, immigration and national identity – themes dear to Le Pen.
As for the man currently in the job – the most unpopular French president in polling history – Francois Hollande has yet to declare whether he will be seeking re-election.
The outgoing French president has, for decades, represented his or her party in the next election.
But Hollande, dogged by high unemployment and other problems, has sunk so low in opinion polls that questions have been raised about his candidacy, prompting his Socialist party to organise a preliminary primary contest.