After a month of speculation, and after withdrawing from the UMP presidential primary, the weekly magazine Challenges reported that Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has withdrawn from the entire race, thereby excluding the possibility of an independent candidacy. Yet no sooner had that been released on the internet, the Alliot-Marie camp stated that "We contradict categorically and formally (...) Michele Alliot-Marie will make known her decision from here at January 14." The magazine claims that their information was based on a telephone call between Alliot-Marie and Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday, but the staff of Alliot-Marie has denied that there ever was a conversation.
At this point Alliot-Marie seems to be digging herself into a deeper and deeper political hole. It is clear that she has little chance of winning the election and would just end up hurting Sarkozy, but it is hard to believe that she would continue this ambiguity if she wasn't running.
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