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French Defense Minister says she will not seek UMP party's presidential nomination

French Defense Minister says she will not seek UMP party's presidential nomination

French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in an interview released Wednesday that she will not seek the governing UMP party's nomination for presidential elections next year, but added she might run outside the party.
"I am not a candidate for the financial and logistic support of the UMP," Alliot-Marie was quoted as saying in an interview with Sud Ouest newspaper.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is the conservative UMP's leading presidential hopeful, and with Alliot-Marie out of the race, his designation as the party candidate on Jan. 14 now seems beyond doubt. Sarkozy is running neck-and-neck in the polls with Socialist lawmaker Segolene Royal.
Alliot-Marie said Sarkozy's overwhelming support within the party was behind her decision not to seek the UMP's nomination.
"What I am seeing today is that in the UMP, the new members in particular, support the candidacy of Nicolas Sarkozy," she said. "For me, it's not about stirring up trouble" within the party.
Alliot-Marie, who drew boos when speaking at recent UMP meetings after hinting that she might challenge Sarkozy, said she would consult with political allies before deciding whether to run outside the party.
"What interests me is to know how to make my political party and my convictions win," said Alliot-Marie, adding that she will announce her decision before Jan. 14.
President Jacques Chirac has refused to say whether he plans to seek the UMP's nomination and has also said he will announce his intentions early next year. Still, most analysts say there's not much chance 74-year-old Chirac will stand for a third term.
France's two-round presidential elections are to take place in April and May.


Updated : 2021-08-03 01:35 GMT+08:00