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Sarkozy staffer won't back boss in 2017 vote

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Sarkozy staffer won't back boss in 2017 vote
Gérald Darmanin was appointed official spokesman for Sarkozy's UMP presidency campaign in September. Photo: EglantineD/Wikicommons
17:07 CEST+02:00
It's a French political paradox: Gérald Darmanin may be the new spokesman for comeback king Nicolas Sarkozy, but he won't be backing his new boss for a rumoured presidential run in 2017.

Sarkozy broke the worst-kept secret in politics last week when he announced he would run for the presidency of the opposition UMP party in November, which if successful will pit him against President Francois Hollande and his Socialist government on a regular basis.

The return of the man who lost the presidency to Hollande in 2012 grabbed headlines in France, and he announced Monday he had appointed lawmaker Darmanin as the official spokesman for his UMP presidency campaign.

While Sarkozy has not made any allusions to presidential elections in 2017, there is little doubt these are his end-game, although he will first have to fight off rivals at UMP primaries due in 2016 that include lawmaker Xavier Bertrand.

The only problem is.... Darmanin is officially supporting Bertrand, and not Sarkozy.

"Nicolas Sarkozy is not a candidate to be president" but to the presidency of the UMP party, he told AFP Tuesday.

"He told me 'I am not asking anyone to choose', 2017 is very far away."

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