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The Sarkozy Express: Straight At Chirac

Can French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy be stopped? Sarkozy is a big favorite to become head of President Jacques Chirac's center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) later this year and has made clear he would use the post as a springboard to run for President in 2007. Chirac is trying to block him, most recently by threatening to fire him as Finance Minister if he becomes UMP chief, making it harder for him to build a track record. But UMP leaders are pressing Chirac to reconsider. Eric Raoult, vice-chairman of the National Assembly, told Le Monde on Aug. 12 it would be "damaging to lose [Sarkozy's] talents." Even Roselyne Bachelot, a European parliamentary deputy who was spokeswoman for Chirac's 2002 reelection campaign, says Sarkozy should be allowed to hold both jobs.

EDITED BY Edited by Michael S. Serrill

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