In an interview with the Sud Ouest paper, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has declared that she will will not seek the nomination of the UMP to be its presidential candidate, leaving the door wide open for Nicolas Sarkozy.
"I am not the candidate with the logistical and financial support of the UMP."
However, when asked whether she will run as an independent, Alliot-Marie was more cryptic:
"I will think of my candidature for the presidential election and will consult the members of my association,"Le Chêne", the members of Parliament and also the personalities (of the majority). Afterwards, I will say if I am or am not a candidate."
It is doubtful that she would end up taking this road, although such a candidacy would certainly add some uncertainty to the race. By splitting some of the right vote, Alliot-Marie could possibly open the way for a Royal v. Alliot-Marie runoff. Just as likely, however, would be Royal v. Le Pen: deja vu all over again.
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