Chirac's widow in 'oui' slip on Sarkozy's comeback
Bernadette Chirac has let slip that Nicolas Sarkozy intends to make a political comeback, as the former president reactivated a social media account to post a photograph of himself to supporters.
France's 80-year-old former first lady was initially evasive when asked whether she thought the man who succeeded her husband, Jacques Chirac, as French president intended to have another crack at the job in 2017. "I hope so," she told Europe 1 radio, adding that he was the only Right-winger with the stature for the post.
When pressed on whether he had made his intention clear to her, she said: "Well, I'm forbidden from saying so. I'm telling you, he's going to tick me off."
Did that mean the response was "oui", the reporter insisted. "Well of course," she finally exclaimed.
Mrs Chirac has become a prominent supporter of Mr Sarkozy after a long stretch of frosty relations following his supposed insubordination towards her husband while in office. Since his defeat in the 2012 elections, Mr Sarkozy has made sure he is not forgotten by sending a series of "postcards" to the French – from appearances at his wife Carla's concerts to this week calling a mayor in the Var region to offer support after floods.
In an Instagram photograph yesterday, his first uploaded on the online picture-sharing website in 21 months, Mr Sarkozy can be seen laughing as he sips a coffee in a cafe near his offices in Paris.
"Happy New Year to the shopkeepers of the district and thank you for the coffee," reads the accompanying message.
The post has received a flood of messages of support, such as: "Come back Nicolas, we need you." Commentators noted that the photograph appeared amid reports that Mr Sarkozy's party rivals are joining forces to block him from circumventing party primaries.
Last month, 'Le Point' reported that Mr Sarkozy had told friends: "The question is not if I want or don't want to return. I cannot not return. I don't have a choice. It's destiny. Destiny." (© Daily Telegraph, London)