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Sarkozy on defensive in first French presidential primary debate

Alain Juppe (left) and Nicolas Sarkozy are among seven candidates who will appear in a televised debate for the right-wing presidential nominationNicolas Sarkozy was forced onto the defensive Thursday over his legal woes in the first debate of right-wing rivals for the French presidency, including the man tipped to lead the country, Alain Juppe. Former president Sarkozy is trailing ex-prime minister Juppe, 71, in the race for the right-wing nomination, to be decided in a highly anticipated November primary that is expected to produce the next president of France. With the jihadist threat uppermost in voters’ minds following a series of deadly attacks, the primary campaign has tipped over into populism, with Sarkozy particularly accused of chasing after far-right National Front (FN) voters.

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