France: Dati to run for Paris mayor

France: Dati to run for Paris mayor

Rachida Dati, the embattled French justice minister, has sparked consternation in her own camp by letting it be known she intends to run for mayor of Paris, against President Nicolas Sarkozy's wishes.

The move suggests that Miss Dati, 43, whom Mr Sarkozy demoted by squeezing her out of the cabinet in exchange for a near-certain seat in the European parliament, intends to rebuild her flagging career with or without the president's support.

The glamorous single mother plans to use her hands-off post as mayor of the chic seventh arrondissement, as well as her seat on the Paris city council, as a springboard to run for mayor of the capital in 2014 – when the second mandate of Socialist Bertrand Delanoë expires.

Last month, the president gave his estranged protégée no choice but to leave her prestigious post as justice minister to take the low-profile position of No 2 on his centre-right UMP party's list for the greater Paris area in the European elections. Although she put a brave face on it, the move was widely seen as an elegant dismissal for the first person of North African descent to hold a top government post.

Once a star of Mr Sarkozy's politically and ethnically diverse cabinet, who according to a newly released book played a pivotal role in patching up relations between the president and his ex-wife Cécilia, she has fallen out of favour in recent months. Presidential support waned due to her clumsy handling of unpopular justice reforms, her inability to retain ministerial aides, and her love of glitz in a time of economic crisis.

However, her political ambition remains intact. "She wants to get involved in Paris. She confided in me that the Paris mayorship in 2014 really interested her," her political adviser, Emmanuelle Dauvergne, told Le Parisien.

"The first step is the European election. That will increase her contacts with local politicians and dignitaries. Parisians will start to think Dati is the centre-right in Paris," said another.


Source: Telegraph (English)

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