French politics

Nicolas Sarkozy, the indispensable friend

While the French Socialist Party was holding its summer school at La Rochelle the last week-end, the UMP also did its political come-back at Nice, not with a summer school (due to budgetary reasons) but a rally of “Les Amis de Nicolas Sarkozy”, an association founded by Brice Hortefeux (former minister and current EPP MEP) and Christian Estrosi, mayor of the city and current MP.

The rally gathered near 1500 activists and almost all the UMP leaders, except François Fillon for health reasons. They all came to defend the outcome of the ex-French president and pay tribute to him too.

Three months after his defeat in the presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy remains very present within the ex-ruling party, his supporters are still there and numerous and hardly anybody dares to question his action when he was president. Almost all the activists and UMP leaders claim his political legacy to appear as the guarantor, the dignified successor of his political action and values.

Jean-François Copé, current UMP Secretary General and candidate for the presidency of the party

Indeed, the UMP rulers and those who are applying to be the next President of the party on the next November, know that making a reference to Nicolas Sarkozy is a major condition to get the support of the activists who are feeling as orphans since the 6th of May, which explains the presence of the main leaders at Nice, the last Saturday. Thus, everyone gives his own analysis of sarkozysm to catch the activists’ support better, whatever their political inspirations. For instance, when Eric Ciotti considers sarkozysm as “behaviour, attitude”, others put “the love of France, the respect of borders and the priority to labour, merit, order, authority and law” while some people even deal with “a way of social justice. Even Jean-François Copé, current UMP Secretary General gives its own definition of sarkozysm, considering it as something “virile”, a subtle way to tackle François Hollande (reputed as a wimp man) but also François Fillon, his direct rival for the UMP leadership.

Thus, there are so many definitions of sarkozysm aiming at provoking the adhesion of a large number of activists reluctant to question the Nicolas Sarkozy’s legacy and image. In fact, this is the main issue of the UMP which, put forward the Nicolas Sarkozy policy, avoids dealing with his policy and eventually draws its outcome.

The defeat is probably still in the minds and if an UMP leader dares to tackle the icon Sarkozy, he or she will be disowned by the activists. What is more, if Nicolas Sarkozy is out politics since the last May, he remains very attentive to the news of his party all the more so as, the applicants for the UMP leadership are exactly queuing up to meet him as Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet or François Fillon, in the upcoming days. Nicolas Sarkozy became a friend everybody wants his good, an indispensable friend to get the supreme unction and the leadership of the party.