Sarkozy wins opposition UMP party vote

Former president takes a step towards a possible re-election bid by winning the leadership of the UMP party.

    Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been elected leader of the opposition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, taking a big step towards a possible re-election bid for the presidency.

    The 59-year-old collected 64.5 percent of the vote on Saturday to defeat former government ministers Bruno Le Maire and Herve Mariton with a margin that some analysts said was below expectations.

    After casting his ballot, Sarkozy said his return was "not a personal question."

    "It is about the situation in the country, the situation of my political family, the necessity to prepare an alternative, huge problems arising in our country."

    Nearly 270,000 dues-paying party members were eligible to vote on Saturday.

    Sarkozy has used the UMP leadership as a springboard before. He also won it in 2004 - with 85 percent of the vote - and built a ground game that helped propel him to victory in the presidential race three years later.

    After serving one term in office, he lost elections in 2012 to Socialist Francois Hollande who is now the least-popular French leader in modern history largely for his failed promise to bring down a double-digit unemployment rate.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.