His immediate future will be decided by presidential elections this spring. If he wins, he will serve another five-year mandate, which under the constitution must be his last. If he loses, he told reporters he will quit politics.
“Whatever happens, I’m at the end of the road. For the first time in my life, I am confronted with the end of my career.”
Sarkozy trained as a lawyer, but only practised for a short time before immersing himself in politics – at 28 he became one of the youngest mayors in France.
Though the father of a new baby, he’ll be 57 in May, and if he is re elected, will be 62 when he leaves office.
Sarkozy tells his circle of friends “Whatever I do I will have a completely different life, you won’t hear me popping up all the time.”
Many world leaders take the well-trodden path of international speaking engagements when they leave office, but this route will offer fewer opportunities to Sarkozy, whose English is very limited.
He makes no apology for the fact that he hopes to make a lot of money, telling an audience at the G20 summit in Cannes in November 2011 “I too would like to make money in the future,” before going on to criticise the “immorality” displayed by some financiers.
Sarkozy has not yet officially declared his candidacy for a second term as president, insiders say he intends to make a formal declaration in early March.
The field is already crowded with Socialist François Hollande as the favourite.