Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Villepin creates party to challenge Sarkozy

Dominique de Villepin announcing launch of new party, 25/03/10
Mr de Villepin is known as a poet, diplomat and author

Dominique de Villepin, arch-rival of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is launching a new party amid speculation that he will run for the presidency.

He did not give his party a name, or formally announce a presidential run.

But he said it would be "a free and independent movement" and criticised the "politics practised today".

The former prime minister was recently acquitted of plotting to smear Mr Sarkozy when the two men served in the government of President Jacques Chirac.

Mr de Villepin, known as an elegant diplomat, poet, and author of books on Napoleon, was once a favourite to succeed Mr Chirac as the centre-right UMP party's candidate for president.

But he developed an intense rivalry with Mr Sarkozy - then his interior minister - who went on to gain the nomination.


He said: "I have decided to create a political movement, a free and independent movement, open to everyone, which is above divisions and can unite all good intentions."

He said he was looking to shake up the political scene "over the next two years," describing himself as "uneasy with the politics practised today by the majority".

He criticised the distribution of wealth in France today, saying: "We cannot accept to live in a country where inequality and injustice reach such a level. We cannot delay our response."

The new party is to be officially launched on 19 June.

Some commentators said Mr de Villepin would pose a risk for Mr Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election by threatening to split the right-wing vote.

But others questioned whether he had the support in parliament to mount a serious challenge.

Print Sponsor

Bitter French duel intensifies
29 Jan 10 |  Europe
Ex-PM condemns Sarkozy 'hatred'
29 Jan 10 |  Europe
Sarkozy foe wins France smear row
28 Jan 10 |  Europe
Profile: Dominique de Villepin
28 Jan 10 |  Europe
Murky tale behind French PM's trial
28 Jan 10 |  Europe
France timeline
05 Jun 12 |  Country profiles

China Post Ex-French PM forms new party to rival UMP - 12 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Sarkozy rival mounts vote challenge - 22 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! Sarkozy's bitterest enemy launches rival party - 24 hrs ago Former PM Villepin challenges Sarkozy with new party - 27 hrs ago
Washington PostFormer French PM challenges Sarkozy with new party - 28 hrs ago
* May require registration

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific