In media interviews on Friday, Bernadette Chirac made comments in support of Sarkozy, the centre-right UMP president who was ousted from power by Socialist François Hollande in elections earlier this year.
“The current government needs to have the time express itself and to show how it can tackle this crisis head on,” Chirac, 79, told the Europe 1 radio station.
“And later, later I think that Nicolas Sarkozy will return.”
The former first lady expressed admiration for the qualities shown by the man who succeeded her husband as France’s president in 2007.
“He has a very great capacity — he is a relentless worker,” she said.
“He showed from the beginning of the crisis the speed with which could bring together all the bankers.”
Her comments come as President Hollande faces a dip in popularity amidst mounting unemployment and economic challenges.
Mrs Chirac said that she remains in contact with Sarkozy, who she publicly supported in the last election even while her husband remained non-commital, or according to some reports supportive of Hollande.
“I’ve known him well for a long time,” she said.
“I also know Carla (Sarkozy’s wife and former supermodel) and I am very lucky in that.”
Mrs Chirac said she had seen Sarkozy twice since she returned from summer holidays “but we did not talk about politics — it’s not the time for him.”
“He is certainly reflecting a lot (. . . ) he is maybe even going to write something, I don’t know.”
In an interview with Le Parisien, published on Friday, Mrs Chirac spoke on the same theme.
“I believe that the French are going to seek out Sarkozy,” she told the newspaper.