Nicolas Sarkozy declares candidacy for French presidential election

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced he will seek his party’s nomination to stand in next year’s French presidential election. The rightwinger, who was nicknamed “the hyper-president” for his frenetic term in power from 2007 to 2012, had made no secret of his ambition to reconquer the Elysée palace and avenge his 2012 defeat by the Socialist François Hollande.

After weeks of suspense in which he grabbed media headlines by presenting an increasingly hardline stance on national identity and the place of Islam in France, Sarkozy launched his campaign with an announcement on social media and a link to the first chapter of a book, Everything for France, which he will publish this week.

“The next five years will be filled with danger but also with hope,” he wrote. He listed what he said were the five major challenges facing France, including defending French identity, restoring lost competitiveness and enforcing state authority.

Sarkozy said France’s “top battle” was over how “to defend our lifestyle without being tempted to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.”

In his fight to win his party’s nomination, Sarkozy, 61, is putting forward a platform of policies