Nicolas Sarkozy will run for president in 2017, hoping to return as France’s head of state after being unseated in 2012 by the now deeply unpopular Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy will join more than a dozen contenders vying for the Les Republicains ticket in primaries, where former prime minister Alain Juppe will be his strongest rival.
Below are some key points from his policy platform outlined in a new book ‘Everything for France.’
- “Drastically reduce” the number of foreigners who can enter France every year.
- Any foreigner wishing to become French will have to spend at least 10 years in France before seeking citizenship, compared with five years now.
- Economic migration must stop during the next five-year presidential term.
- The right of legal immigrants to bring to France immediate family members will be suspended until there is a coherent immigration policy at the European level.
- Create a special court for “anti-terrorist security”. A similar court was used in 1963 against the OAS, a far-right paramilitary organisation that carried out attacks and assassinations in a brief attempt to prevent the independence of Algeria, a former French colony.
- Sarkozy indicates he favours a return to “double punishment” of convicted foreigners – a measure he abolished as president. It could require a reform of the European Convention of Human Rights.
- Allow companies to determine the working hours of their employees. If management and unions cannot reach an agreement, a company vote would determine the length of the working week.
- The minimum retirement age would be increased to 63 years in 2020 and 64 years in 2025.
- The working week for civil servants would increase to 37 hours from 35 hours.
- Unemployment benefits would be gradually reduced.
- “Immediate elimination” of the so-called solidarity tax paid by those who have assets of more than 1.3 million euros.
- Income tax would be cut by 10 percent as soon as July 2017.
- Sales of companies would benefit from a tax credit of 85 percent or a total tax exemption if the business is maintained for at least five years, with a job guarantee for a majority of employees.
- The tax relief plan for companies implemented under the current Socialist government would be doubled. At least 34 billion euros in social contributions would be cut to increase French companies’ competitiveness.
- Stiffen sentences for multiple offenders. After three convictions, the offender’s sentence would be automatically increased by 25 percent. After five convictions, by 50 percent and after 10 convictions, by 100 percent.
- The age of criminal responsibility would be lowered to 16 from 18 currently.