The French Right's lost year

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The return of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to front-line politics in 2014 was supposed to breathe new life into the Right, bringing unity and cohesion ahead of the 2017 presidential election. Instead, a year later, the ex-president's political movement looks fractured, fractious and short on new ideas as political life resumes after the summer break. Ellen Salvi reports.

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Just a year ago the French Right was humming with rumours about the imminent and much-heralded return of former present Nicolas Sarkozy to front-line politics. The former prime minister and current mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, meanwhile, had announced he would be a candidate in the Right's primary to choose a candidate for the 2017 presidential election, while former agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire was vying to be the main challenger to Sarkozy for the presidency of the right-wing opposition party the UMP. Its former boss, Jean-François Copé, on the other hand, was trying to keep a low profile after he became entangled in the Bygmalion election funding scandal, while Sarkozy's prime minister François Fillon was ploughing his own lonely furrow as he developed new policy ideas.