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Sarkozy Declines to Say If He’ll Seek Second Term

French President Nicolas Sarkozy declined to say if he’ll seek a second term in an interview with Figaro magazine to be published on Feb. 11.

Asked if he is ready to announce his candidacy, Sarkozy said “before my own interests, I have consider those of my mandate” as president.

Sarkozy plans to change the unemployment benefit system, making it compulsory after “a period of several months” for the jobless to undertake vocational training in order to continue to receive their payments.

“After this training, which will be compulsory, the job seeker will be obliged to accept the first offer corresponding to the job for which he’s been re-trained,” he said in the Figaro magazine interview.

The move comes as France seeks to shrink its public debt, which at 1.69 trillion euros ($2.24 trillion) represents 85 percent of gross domestic product.

Sarkozy plans a national referendum on the proposed benefit reform and possibly another on immigration policy, he said in the Figaro interview.

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