France's ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy makes grand comeback... to writing

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By Sandrine Amiel  & Euronews
FILE PHOTO: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends the national ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of militant attacks, in Paris, France September 19, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends the national ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of militant attacks, in Paris, France September 19, 2018   -   Copyright  Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces fraud allegations and a looming trial for corruption, releases his memoirs on Thursday (June 27).

Entitled Passions, the book spans from his debut in politics back in the 1980s to his first day at the Elysee Palace in 2007.

Sarkozy has shared excerpts of the 390-page publication on his Twitter account.

"Writing my memoirs was not my goal. I preferred to talk about what I lived, without chronological order, without worries, without political motives. I want to talk about life," Sarkozy wrote.

"Perhaps some readers will recognize feelings they have themselves experienced in this long journey. This proximity will help understand - it is at least my dearest wish - why I feel deep gratitude to every French citizen for allowing me to live as their leader a moment of French history which will always remain a miracle to me," he continued.

Difficult times for Sarkozy and his party

The publication comes just a few days after Nicolas Sarkozy lost his final bid to avoid going to trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling, making him the first former French president to face explicit corruption charges in court.

Last month, a top court rejected an appeal to avoid another trial, which involved charges of illicit financing of his 2012 campaign.

His party Les Republicains (LR), once the dominant political force in France, is also going through difficult times. At the European elections last month, LR got only 8% of the votes, losing voters to Emmanuel Macron's centrist party La Republique en Marche and Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National.

READ: France's Sarkozy to face trial for corruption and influence peddling

Poll highlights Sarkozy's popularity

Yet Nicolas Sarkozy remains highly popular among right-wing voters. According to an opinion poll conducted by Elabe-BFMTV earlier this month, a majority of LR supporters still believe he would be the best leader for the party.

"In the eyes of right-wing voters, Nicolas Sarkozy represents a sort of golden age," said Bruno Cautrès, a political scientist at Cevipof and CNRS.

"The 2007 presidential election projected the image of a success story to many French people, in particular in his political family," Cautrès explained.

"Right-wing voters are very attached sentimentally to Nicolas Sarkozy but also very nostalgic of that time."

Can Sarkozy come back to politics?

So, is Sarkozy's return to writing the first step of his political comeback?

"Nicolas Sarkozy has ruled out his comeback as leader of LR, this political party which is facing such tremendous difficulties since its defeat at the 2017 presidential election," Cautrès told Euronews.

The reason why he believes Sarkozy, Cautrès said, is because of the former president's legal situation.

"There are still judicial obstacles on Nicolas Sarkozy's way. If his judicial horizon was cleared, I would not be surprised if he was tempted. I'm not saying he'll do it but he would probably be very tempted," Cautrès said.

But considering the number of ongoing cases, "I cannot imagine how Sarkozy could possibly come back," the political scientist concluded,

"On the other hand, in his book, we find an extremely important point. It is the idea that if partisan politics is over for him, the story between him and the French, between him and France will never end," Cautrès noted.

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