"Scandals, lawsuits, and bankers chase him. What of it!" writes French news weekly Marianne in its cover story this week.
"Nicolas Sarkozy has but one goal: take back ultimate power on the "Republican" ticket."
The former president of France has rattled observers across the political spectrum with his initiative to rebrand his center-right party, the UMP, the "Republicans". The name-change was approved in a party assembly last weekend.
The French frequently refer to their country as simply "the Republic," and to be "Republican" usually means to exemplify French values. Marianne calls the move a "hold-up" on the French political system.
But the magazine also notes the hurdles Sarkozy faces in his bid to win back the presidency in 2017, from the allegations of corruption and abuse of power in his inner circle to the centrist challengers for the party's nomination.
Some have speculated that the name-change was less about PR to sway voters than a way to solidify his authority within the party. With the creation of the Republicans, Sarkozy enjoys the advantage of being both the founder and only chief.
The former president's push to reclaim power has been anything but subtle -- and neither has the coverage by Marianne, a longtime opponent of Sarkozy. When he launched his comeback in September, Marianne mocked the move as a veritable horror fim, "Sarko II: The Return."
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