August 23, 2016
Sarkozy launches candidacy in a book
Nicolas Sarkozy made his candidacy official. He announced his bid for the Republican primaries in his book "Tout pout la France" to be available in bookshops tomorrow. To announce a presidential candidacy in a book is a first in French politics, and in stark contrast to Alain Juppé, who announced his candidature on facebook. The newspapers got a copy to review this morning, so the secret is out.
In the book Sarkozy repeats what he already flagged up before: a forceful offensive against immigration. He wants a reform of the birthright rules to prevent immigrant family reunions, a new Schengen treaty, and to "organise" Islam by subjecting imams to the control of the Interior ministry. He also advocates a ban on visible religious signs in universities and to pork-free options in school canteens. Those susceptible of becoming a security threat should be under constant surveillance also with electronic tags. In his book Sarkozy plays to the theme of national identity. He writes that it is time to start a determined battle against multiculturalism and accused the Socialists of doing more for minorities than for the French. With stark language he evokes a scary picture of France, at war against a limitless enemy, in need of a strong and authoritative leader, him. It's De Gaulle all over.
In his economic policies Sarkozy wants to reinstall his tax-free overtime working hours (which was abandoned by Francois Hollande), to give small enterprises the right to negotiate working time themselves and to increase working time in the public sector from 35 hours to 37 hours. He suggests degressive unemployment benefits (20% less after 12 months), a gradual increase in the retirement age to 64 by 2025, a 10% cut in income tax as from the summer 2017 and the abolition of the solidarity tax on wealth, according to Le Point.
With this candidature Sarkozy also quit his post as party leader. It is not clear yet who will succeed him. Number 2 in the party Laurent Wauquiez expects to take over as acting president, but Eric Woerth and others do not support him and prefer a collective leadership instead, according to Journal du Dimanche.