Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy announces new presidential bid

Nicolas Sarkozy will run for president in 2017, hoping to return as France's head of state after being unseated in 2012 by the now deeply unpopular Francois Hollande.
Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, head of France's Les Republicains political party and former French president, while attending a meeting with farmers at a farm in Kriegsheim near Strasbourg, France, July 9, 2016. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will run
Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, head of France's Les Republicains political party and former French president, while attending a meeting with farmers at a farm in Kriegsheim near Strasbourg, France, July 9, 2016. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will run for next year's presidential election, he announced on his Facebook account August 22, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP/REUTERS) - Former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday (Aug 22) announced he will seek his party's nomination to stand in next year's presidential election.

"I have decided to be a candidate for the 2017 presidential election. I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history," Sarkozy wrote on his social media pages ahead of the publication of a book called "Everything for France" on Wednesday.

Mr Sarkozy also posted a link to the extract on his Twitter account.

Mr Sarkozy, 61, was unseated from the Elysee Palace at the last election in 2012 by the now deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande, but had been widely expected to try to win back the office.

A hyperactive and divisive figure both loved and loathed among right-wing voters, Mr Sarkozy did not say whether he would join the conservative Les Republicains party primaries scheduled for November. More than a dozen contenders are vying for the party ticket as candidate, including main rival, Alain Juppe.

Mr Sarkozy had done little to conceal his desire to return to power since taking the helm of France's main right-wing party in late 2014, but two months ago trailed Juppe in opinion polls.