How Nicolas Sarkozy wants to claim the Right's electoral win as his personal victory

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It was a bad night for France's ruling Socialist Party and a very good night for the opposition alliance of the right-wing UMP and the centrist UDI. The Right and its allies won control of 25 département or county councils from the Left in Sunday's local elections and will now control 66 councils. A clear victory for sure - but who should take the credit? One of the key factors in the Right's win was its alliance with France's centrist parties, a strategy advocated in particular by former prime minister and current mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé. In any case, the Right had already done well in the local and European elections in 2014, well before Nicolas Sarkozy's comeback as president of the UMP. But as Ellen Salvi reports, none of this has stopped the former president and his supporters from claiming that he is the man who has transformed the Right's electoral fortunes.

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According to his supporters, Nicolas Sarkozy has been re-energised by the Right's successes in France's départemental or county elections. “The wonderful atmosphere of 2007 is back,” says UMP senator Pierre Charon, one of the former president's close allies, referring to the year Sarkozy became president. Sarkozy himself, who up to now has had a difficult comeback after being elected as head of the UMP last year, is convinced that he won a decisive victory in Sunday's second round of elections at département level.