His announcement came on the eve of his defeat in the first round of the primary to choose the candidate from the centre-right in next year’s presidential elections.
|Nicolas Sarkozy (screenshot BBC News)|
Sarkozy finished a distant third to his former prime minister during his five-year spell in office from 2002-2007, François Fillon, and blast-from-the-past hopeful (and another former prime minister) Alain Juppé.
Yes, how ironic that Fillon, the man Sarkozy had described (apparently off-the-record) as his “assistant while the boss, that’s me” back in August 2007 “romped” to victory with just over 44 per cent of the four million who turned out to vote with Juppé (28.6) second and Sarkozy third (20.6).
The top two will now go head to head in a second round of voting on Sunday 27 November.
An unusually subdued and dignified Sarkozy thanked just about everyone possible during his speech in which he conceded defeat and gave his support in next Sunday’s round to his former “assistant” - moving many of his fans (because the cult of personality is and was at the core of Sarkozy’s approach to politics) to tears.
Just a shame the 62-year-old hadn’t been a little more noble and distinguished earlier in the day when he went to vote.
While Fillon, Juppé and the other four candidates had been happy to stand patiently in line while waiting to vote in their respective constituencies, Sarkozy, presumably not wanting to rub shoulders for too long with the (well-heeled) hoi polloi of the swanky XVI arrondissement in Paris, jumped the queue.
Jumped the queue.
Surely the way he will be lovingly remembered and treasured by his devotees.
And as for stepping out of the limelight to "have a life with more passion privately and less publicly”…cue that interview in March 2012 with Jean-Jacques Bourdin perhaps.