France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy announced his return to politics in a statement on his Facebook page on Friday, saying he would seek the leadership of his UMP party in a move that could position him for a 2017 presidential bid, SIA reports quoting the France 24.
“I am a candidate for the presidency of my political family,” Sarkozy said.
The announcement ends months of local media speculation that Sarkozy, 59, would someday return to politics after his 2012 defeat to Socialist François Hollande in 2012.
A divisive figure reviled by many left-wing voters, Sarkozy is seen by his supporters as the politician with the best chance of rallying the fractured centre-right UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) party to a presidential victory in 2017.
But any political comeback could be undermined by a series of legal troubles Sarkozy is facing.
Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation in July over corruption allegations. Investigators are seeking to establish whether Sarkozy, with the help of his lawyer, attempted to pervert the course of justice by seeking to obtain inside information about a probe into possible misdeeds in the financing of his 2007 election campaign.
Investigators suspect that Sarkozy was tipped off that his mobile phone had been tapped by judges looking into allegations that his campaign had been financed in part by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy has denied the claims that he received up to €50 million ($70 million at the time) from Gaddafi. Judges last year obtained the unprecedented authorisation to tap the phones of a former president in connection with the investigation, which is ongoing.
Sarkozy's comeback may also be complicated by the announcement last month that veteran French politician Alain Juppé, who once served as Sarkozy's foreign minister, would also be a contender for the UMP presidential nomination in 2017.