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Sarkozy announces new presidential bid

[PARIS] Former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday announced he will seek his party's nomination to stand in next year's presidential election.

"I have decided to be a candidate in the 2017 presidential election," Mr Sarkozy, who was president between 2007 and 2012, wrote in a foreword to a new book to be released Wednesday and seen by AFP.

Mr Sarkozy also posted a link to the extract on his Twitter account.

"The next five years will be filled with danger but also with hope," wrote the 61-year-old conservative, who had made no secret of his ambition to return to the top job.

He listed five major challenges for France, which included defending French identity, restoring lost competitiveness and enforcing state authority.

The announcement of his bid to secure the nomination of his opposition Republicans at a party primary in November comes in the midst of an impassioned debate over the place of Islam in French society.

Mr Sarkozy said France's "top battle" was over how "to defend our lifestyle without being tempted to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world."