Sarkozy concedes defeat in French presidential primary
France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy has bid farewell to politics after conceding defeat in the first round of the country’s right-wing presidential primary.
“I did not manage to convince the voters,” said Sarkozy during a speech to his supporters given late on Sunday after partial votes showed his loss.
His former prime minister Francois Fillon took the lead in the two-round primary, which is widely expected to decide the country’s next president.
Fillon took over 43 percent of the votes while former prime minister Alain Juppe had over 26 and Sarkozy 23 percent.
Sarkozy also said that he would be voting for Fillon in next Sunday’s second round, in which only two candidates progress.
“I have no bitterness, I have no sadness, and I wish the best for my country,” he added.
France’s center-right Republican Party kicked off its nominating contest earlier in the day to determine the party’s presidential candidate in the next year’s election.
With the French left remaining divided until now, the next French president will possibly either be the Republican nominee or the far-right leader Marine Le Pen.