Sarkozy reveals his personal plan B: I'll quit politics entirely if I lose presidential election

But is it all just a double bluff to make him seem less power-driven – and all the more electable?


The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said he will leave politics if he loses in the forthcoming presidential elections.

The disclosure came in a report in Le Monde newspaper which suggested that Mr Sarkozy had been talking to "friends" about life after power. "If I lose, I will give up politics. Yes, that's a certainty," he was quoted as saying. "I will rebuild my life completely. You will never hear of me again."

But it later emerged that the "friends" were journalists to whom the President, who has yet to enter the race, had spoken off the record during a visit to French Guiana last weekend.

Despite poor opinion-poll ratings, officially Mr Sarkozy remains confident of winning a second term in the two-round election on 22 April and 6 May. He believes the opinion-poll lead of his principal challenger, the Socialist candidate, François Hollande, will "melt away" in February.

Unofficially, however, senior members of the President's centre-right party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), were badly rattled by Mr Hollande's energetic and impressive performance at his first large campaign rally last Sunday.

Mr Sarkozy's comments on life after politics may have been intended to help his electoral chances by suggesting that he is an "ordinary man", not someone desperate to cling to power. "In any case [whether in 2012 or 2017], I am approaching the end," he was quoted as saying. "For the first time in my life, I am confronted with the end of my career."

President Sarkozy will be 57 on Saturday. He has been a full-time, professional politician since the age of 28, when he became mayor of a wealthy Paris satellite town, Neuilly-sur-Seine. He is a qualified lawyer and has previously suggested he might "return" to a profession that he has scarcely practised.

In other comments in the past, President Sarkozy has stated he would like to go on to "make a lot of money". Three years ago, he was quoted in the magazine Le Point saying that he would probably not stand again in 2012. "When you see the billions [sic] Bill Clinton is making," he said. "I would like to fill my pockets too... €150,000 a conference!"

It is doubtful, however, whether Mr Sarkozy, who speaks little English, would be able to command such high fees on the American or international lecture circuit. It is thought more likely that he would accept one of several standing offers from friends in the business world.

The President's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, said in 2008 that she would prefer him to serve only one term. She later said she was speaking only "as a wife".

Despite high unemployment and the recent blow of the loss of France's AAA credit rating, the presidential race is far from cut and dried. Mr Sarkozy will announce new measures to boost the economy in a live television appearance on Sunday evening. He is expected to launch his campaign in late February.

Mr Hollande, 57, is predicted by recent polls to come top in the first round on 22 April with 27 to 30 per cent of the vote. Mr Sarkozy is running at around 23 per cent, closely followed by the far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen (18 to 20 per cent) and the centrist candidate, François Bayrou (13 to 14 per cent). Only the top two candidates go forward to the second round.

Life after the Elysée: Sarkozy's options


Following in the footsteps of Tony Blair, who became an adviser to the American investment bank JP Morgan after leaving Downing Street, Mr Sarkozy could seek a lucrative sinecure in the world of high finance. But if he does pursue this avenue, it might be best not to bring up his threats to impose tougher regulation and special taxes in the interview.



A political memoir is the perfect retirement pursuit for a former leader. In one stroke, Mr Sarkozy can amplify his successes, play down any mistakes and settle scores with old political foes. Potential titles include Colossus and Till Debt Do Us Part.



If all else fails, Mr Sarkozy could make a foray into the music business by penning a song with his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a singer-songwriter who appeared on BBC2's Later... with Jools Holland in 2008.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
UK Border Control
Arts and Entertainment
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Office Administrator - Full or Part Time

£14600 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 2003 the company...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Content Marketing Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing, Google certi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 business...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has won the award ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn