How Sarkozy's march back to power reached a blind alley

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Nicolas Sarkozy’s official return to politics last year, when he was elected head of his conservative opposition party, was, his supporters believed, the start of a relatively easy march back to power in elections due in 2017. But the wily former French president, once considered a masterful political tactician, appears to have lost his grip, unable to offer policy initiatives and mired in infighting and scandal. Ellen Salvi hears from party insiders in this analysis of where it has all gone wrong for the man who, a former aide admits, “wants to regain power for the sake of regaining power”.

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For a long while, Nicolas Sarkozy believed that his return to politics, two years after losing office in 2012, and explaining that he was a changed man, was all that was needed to erase unfavourable memories of his term as president and his electoral defeat at the hands of François Hollande.