The close of the month also closes the opportunity to declare candidacy for the UMP, and as of now, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is the only man standing. He will not be properly nominated unitl mid-January, but after many, many years of waiting, Sarkozy will finally have his chance at the presidency. But even now, there exists the possibility that President Jacques Chirac's final legacy will be derailing the candidacy of his former protege.
Other party insiders claim that President Jacques Chirac, 74, may try to use her (Michele Alliot-Marie) as a last-ditch weapon to destroy Mr Sarkozy's dream of leading France. The two men have been deadly political foes, from within the same party, for years.
Patrick Jarreau, the chief leader editor for Le Monde newspaper, saw the hand of Mr Chirac in the defence minister's prevarication.
"The idea of having Michèle Alliot-Marie in reserve as a possible candidate against Nicolas Sarkozy outside the party, is the first sign that the president hasn't given up being involved in distributing the playing cards on the Right," he said.
However, he suggested that Mr Chirac, who is due to address the nation in his customary New Year speech today, might tacitly support Miss Royal at a later stage, and urge his supporters to vote for he
Some of Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie's friends suggested that by threatening her candidacy, Alliot-Marie is really negotiating to be Sarkozy's prime minister. Either way, this won't be a clean show.
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