Sarkozy announces France political comeback

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Sarkozy announces France political comeback
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gestures while speaking during a ceremony at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Wednesday's visit marks the first appearance of the former president since preliminary charges were filed against him in a campaign finance case, formally placing him under investigation over allegations that he illegally took donations from France's richest woman on way to his 2007 election victory. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Former French Presidents Valery Giscard d'Estaing, left, and Nicolas Sarkozy speak during the D-Day commemoration at the Ouistreham beach, western France, Friday, June 6, 2014. World leaders and veterans gathered by the beaches of Normandy on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)
FILE - In this Dec.11, 2009 file photo, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a phone call during a EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his singer-songwriter wife Carla Bruni are asking a judge for an emergency injunction Monday March 10, 2014, barring any publication of private conversations secretly recorded by former aide Patrick Buisson, also including discussions between Sarkozy and his inner circle. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at an hote in Paris, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Sarkozy is expected to announce his political come-back this weekend. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at an hote in Paris, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Sarkozy is expected to announce his political come-back this weekend. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy prepares to vote for the municipal elections in Paris, Sunday March 23, 2014. Voters across France are casting ballots in the first round of municipal elections Sunday as two female candidates compete to run Paris City Hall and far right candidates are hoping for a strong showing. The voting is taking place in 36,000 French villages, cities and towns for mayors and municipal counselors.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) jogs on September 16, 2014 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
French former president Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his wife French singer Carla Bruni (L) are greeted by French writer and philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy (R) on September 12, 2014 as they arrive to attend the premiere of the play 'Hotel Europe' at the Theatre de l'Atelier, in Paris. The play was written by Henri-Levy and is directed by Bosnian Dino Mustafic. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A supporter of the French rightist UMP party hangs a portrait of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on August 30, 2014 in the northwestern French town of Le Touquet before the start of a two-day UMP youth campus. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of the French rightist UMP party display a T-shirt bearing a picture of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and reading 'I support Nicolas Sarkozy' on August 31, 2014 in the northwestern French town of Le Touquet during a two-day UMP youth campus. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, right, leaves with Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) President Jean-Francois Cope, the headquarters in Paris, Monday July 8, 2013. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy appealed to the French people to rescue his Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the Constitutional Council rejected his 2012 campaign finances, leaving the party heavily out of pocket. The loss to the party, which is already heavily indebted, is 11 million euros. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser al-Khelaifi, right, smiles while talking with France's Former President Nicolas Sarkozy prior to the team's French League One soccer match against Monaco, Sunday Sept. 22, 2013, at Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso shake hands during a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Wednesday's visit marks the first appearance of the former president since preliminary charges were filed against him in a campaign finance case, formally placing him under investigation over allegations that he illegally took donations from France's richest woman on way to his 2007 election victory. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, toasts with a glass of water with Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders during a medal ceremony at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. Wednesday's visit marks the first appearance of the former president since preliminary charges were filed against him in a campaign finance case, formally placing him under investigation over allegations that he illegally took donations from France's richest woman on way to his 2007 election victory. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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PARIS (AP) - Nicolas Sarkozy may want his old job back.

The man who led France from 2007 to 2012 announced Friday on Facebook that he's joining the race to lead his conservative UMP party in elections next month. The widely expected move is seen as a first step toward running for president in 2017.

Sarkozy, the 59-year-old husband of model-turned-singer Carla Bruni, faces a string of legal problems linked to corruption accusations. But that doesn't appear to be holding him back from staging a political return.

When he left the Elysee Palace in 2012, he said he was leaving politics and would find a different way to serve his country.

Now, his successor, Socialist Francois Hollande, has become the most unpopular French leader of modern times over his handling of the economy.

And Sarkozy's UMP party, which he led before running for president the first time, is a nest of divisions in a leadership vacuum.

So with polls showing some want Sarkozy to come back, he wrote Friday, "I have decided to propose a new political choice to the French."

"I love France too much. I am too passionate about public debate and the future of my compatriots to see them condemned to choose between the desperate spectacle of today and the prospect of dead-end isolation," he wrote, in apparent reference to Hollande's weak presidency and the recent rise of far right leader Marine Le Pen, who wants France's top job.

Since Sarkozy left office, he has followed his wife's concert tour and given speeches at international events - and been detained for questioning and faced legal charges.

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