French politics

The UMP and “Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy” hazardous nostalgia

Nadine Morano (former minister for Apprenticeship), Jean-François Copé (UMP president) and Christian Estrosi (MP-mayor of Nice) during the “Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy” conference, the 21st of February in Paris

On the last Wednesday, the “Association des Amis de Nicolas Sarkozy” (Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy Association, movement promoting and defending the Nicolas Sarkozy term’s political legacy) held its first conference at Paris about the former French president’s foreign policy. Most former ministers of Nicolas Sarkozy were present which Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Laurent Wauquiez… Jean-François Copé, current UMP party leader, and François Fillon (former French head of government) were there and also Ingrid Betancourt, the FARC ex-hostage, who want to testimony all her gratitude to the Elysée Palace’s ex-tenant.

This rally aimed at more maintaining the glorious hours and the flame of sarkozysm than having a new (not to say more critical) view about the French ex-head of State foreign policy, compared with the current François Hollande’s. For information, most supporters and faithful people of Sarkozy strongly criticized the current Hollande’s strategy to more consider his predecessor’s one. And watch out for the one who dared to express a different opinion as Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Criticizing the Nicolas Sarkozy’s strategy during the French presidential election run-off the last year (to get the far-right’s Marine Le Pen votes), the former Jacques Chirac’s Prime minister (2002 to 2005) statements were hugely questioned by the whole UMP leaders and executives who want to exonerate Sarkozy of any reponsability regarding his own and the French right defeat.

The UMP party, main right-party in the opposition to François Hollande, is experiencing major difficulties vis-à-vis Nicolas Sarkozy and to go forward as if the former UMP leader was non-replaceable and exempted of any critic due to the moralistic and political weight of Nicolas Sarkozy within the movement. What is more, the current speculations regarding to his (improbable) come-back in 2017 (recently re-launched by Alain Juppé and Bernadette Chirac’s statements) and the rivalry between Jean-François Copé and François Fillon for the UMP leadership are reinforcing this impression of blockade existing within the UMP party.


Depending on Nicolas Sarkozy (his political gesture mainly), the UMP party is nostalgic of a man who moved France according to it. This nostalgic attitude is perfectly and consciously maintained by “The Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy Association”, chaired by Brice Hortefeux, to preserve his chances for the coming months and years. Nonetheless, maintaining the flame and the sarkozysm years of glory, the UMP is taking the major risk to live in melancholia and in a considered past, preventing any critical analysis of the Nicolas Sarkozy’s action on the last five years. But, if the main right opposition party, wants to go back to power in a near future, it is clearly aware it has to do this critic, even if it is means “killing the leader” to be freed and independent from him.

The “Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy” meeting, the mutual distrust between François Fillon and Jean-François Copé and even the current attitude of Sarkozy once again show the UMP party is not ready to make a critical analysis of its ex-leader and refuse to make this so indispensable approach. Such a situation enjoys to the current left ruling majority and to François Hollande mainly, insofar as the UMP party and “The Friends of Nicolas Sarkozy” prefer to look back rather than challenge the future.