Former president Jacques Chirac has endorsed ex-prime minister Alain Juppé for president in the 2017 election, in what is widely seen as yet another barbed snub aimed at Nicolas Sarkozy.
Chirac, who served two terms as France’s head of state between 1995 and 2007, told a leading French daily that Juppé was “destined” for the presidency.
“Few things could make me happier, for myself, for him and, above all, for our country,” Chirac told conservative daily Le Figaro in an interview published on Thursday.
“If I still had the energy, I would have already asked for an office, even if it was small, in Juppé’s campaign headquarters,” Chirac added.
Juppé, a centrist voice within the main opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, is the current mayor of Bordeaux and served as France's prime minister for two years under Chirac.
The 69-year-old Juppé announced his candidacy for the UMP’s 2016 presidential primaries in August.
Chirac, 81, remains broadly popular among French voters, but has appeared increasingly frail during his rare public appearances.