A poll released Thursday showed that a majority among the conservative UMP party think Sarkozy would be the best presidential candidate for the 2017 elections — nearly double the percentages of those who backed the two men now wrestling for power.
The person mediating the party dispute is Alain Juppe, a former prime minister who was convicted in 2004 in an illegal party financing scheme and has since bounced back as a power broker in the conservative party.
Former President Jacques Chirac, another conservative caught in that same scandal, is the only French leader since World War II-era Nazi collaborator Marshal Philippe Petain to be charged or convicted of a crime.
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