Nicholas Sarkozy is gearing up to make a political comeback. The former French president is seeking donations on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to help revive his flagging UMP Party, reports BBC. Sarkozy’s center-right party is on the verge on bankruptcy after election auditors billed the UMP Party 11 million euros ($14.3 million).
The party was asked to refund state funds that were given to Nicholas Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential election campaign. France’s highest administrative court made the demand because the UMP Party breached spending limits. Mr. Sarkozy said that his party must prepare a strong alternative to socialism. The Constitutional Council said that Nicholas Sarkozy’s party overspent by 2.1 percent. Sarkozy resigned from the Council in protest yesterday but all former presidents of France have automatic membership at the Council.
Sarkozy’s statement fueled speculations that he is paving the way for a political return. The former French president has maintained a low profile since his defeat in 2012 presidential election. After the Council’s ruling, UMP leader Jean-Francois Cope started a national fundraising campaign.
The party lost significant support after the parliamentary and presidential elections due to a bitter leadership battle among senior party leaders. French government issues grants to political parties based on their strength in parliament. AFP news agency said that Nicholas Sarkozy was entitled to get 47.5 percent of his campaign expenditure reimbursed.
The government had allotted 22.5 million euros for Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidential election campaign against Socialist Francois Hollande. But the Constitutional Council said that Sarkozy overspent by by 466,118 euros.
Nicholas Sarkozy Scandals
Nicholas Sarkozy is popular for thriving on adversity. Along with the overspending issue, Sarkozy is also involved in three more political scandals that are going through a legal process. People close to Sarkozy say that the scandals are motivated by his political opponents.
One of them is the “Bettencourt affair” in which Sarkozy’s party allegedly received funding from the richest woman in France. Nicholas Sarkozy is also involved in a lawsuit claiming that Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign was funded by Libya’s former dictator late Muammer Gaddafi. Moreover, some ministers under his government, including the current IMF chief Christine Lagarde, are under investigation in the “Tapie affair”, where the former president’s government maneuvered public funds to pay 400 million euros to Bernard Tapie, a friend of Sarkozy.