The former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has launched a new centre-right party to challenge his arch-rival, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Villepin’s new party known as Republique Solidaire is offering a more socially responsible conservatism on a platform of higher taxation.
“We want an alternative movement. Because an alternative is needed. Everyone can see that the politics of today are not producing the desired results. I have risen from the majority but like the majority of the French, I don’t identify with the speeches and I don’t identify with the decisions taken today by the government.”
Villepin had a tense relationship with Sarkozy, who served as his interior minister, relations between the turned to open warfare over the so-called Clearstream affair, in which Villepin was accused of trying to smear Sarkozy to derail his presidential ambitions.
Villepin was cleared in January but faces another court battle after the state prosecutor launched an appeal.