Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday he is seeking to re-take the French presidency, officially declaring himself a candidate in the Republican party’s primaries.
“I’ve decided to be a candidate for the 2017 presidential election,” Sarkozy said on Twitter. “The coming five years will be full of danger but also full of hope.”
The long-expected announcement gives the 61 year-old former president three months to win over opponents in his own camp, including supporters of former prime ministers Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon. With more than a dozen candidates seeking the nomination, The Republicans hold their primaries in two rounds on Nov. 20 and 27.
The winner of that battle will go on to confront a candidate from President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party as well as the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in a general election slated for April 23 and May 7 next year.
Though Sarkozy has trailed Juppe, 71, in popularity ratings for most of the past year, he has gained ground on the former prime minister in recent months as he took a hard line on countering terrorists, saying anyone who is a suspected threat should be thrown in prison.
Monday’s announcement came in an extract of a book in Sarkozy’s name that he then published on Twitter. He’ll make a formal announcement to supporters in Chateaurenard, in southeast France, on Thursday.
Sarkozy plans to focus his campaign on national identity issues and the Islamic threat, Le Monde reported earlier today.