Nicolas Sarkozy is on comeback trail says Chirac's wife

Bernadette Chirac gives strongest indication to date that France's ex-president wants his old job back

LAST UPDATED AT 10:43 ON Wed 22 Jan 2014

NICOLAS SARKOZY is on the comeback trail. The man who lost the presidential election to Francois Hollande in May 2012, no longer seems content to maintain a low profile as he watches his successor struggle both professionally and privately. 

Speculation has been growing in recent weeks that Sarkozy intends to relaunch his political career. Now Bernardette Chirac, wife of two-term president Jacques Chirac, has given credence to the rumours.

During an interview with French broadcaster, Europe 1, this morning, Madame Chirac was asked if she thought Sarkozy would stand for the presidency in 2012. A constant supporter of 'Sarko' (despite a falling out between him and her husband), she replied: "I hope so!"

Pressed on whether Sarkozy had confided to her that he was on the comeback trail, Madame Chirac said: "I'm forbidden to say anything... If I tell... he's going to tell me off." So, said the interviewer, the answer is yes. To which a playful Madame Chirac retorted: "Well... obviously!"

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Madame Chirac's interview came the day after Sarkozy reactivated his Instagram account, dormant since he lost the election nearly two years ago. In a photo published on the site, the former president is seen doing what French politicians do best when they want to court popularity – chatting to ordinary folk in a cafe over a coffee.

"Happy New Year to all the local shops and businesses," posted Sarkozy next to the photo. "And thanks for the coffee!"

Sarko's future wasn't the only subject Bernadette Chirac discussed during her interview. Asked about the love triangle currently captivating France, the former first lady (whose own husband was alleged to have enjoyed the odd extra-marital affair during his own political career) said she had written to Valerie Trierweiler when she was in hospital, telling her "she was in her thoughts".

Madame Chirac added that in her opinion the whole notion of a 'First Lady' in France was "ridiculous" because the French people vote for a president and not a first lady.

And had she discussed President Hollande's travails with her husband? "Of course not!" she retorted. "Fortunately we have more interesting things to talk about."  · 

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