By Arthur Goldhammer
Foreign Affairs, December 6, 2014
Nicolas Sarkozy, who served as president of France from 2007 to 2012 before being defeated in a reelection bid by François Hollande, the current president, has just been elected head of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the party he led before becoming president. Sarkozy hopes that the victory will give him a leg up in the battle to become France’s next president in 2017. He also hopes that it will help keep him out of jail. To understand how political ambitions and criminal investigations became so intimately intertwined and how the travails of the UMP will affect France’s position in Europe and the world, one needs to look back at Sarkozy’s fortunes since he left the presidency in May of 2012.