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  1. Richard Edgar

Nicolas Sarkozy rules out London tax exile plans

Nicolas Sarkozy's five-year reign in office ended last year. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Archive

Nicolas Sarkozy was beaten in the French presidential elections last May and many thought he would disappear into private life.There's been talk he might even move to London to avoid his rival François Hollande's proposed 75% tax on top earners.

I gather that at a dinner in Davos last night he ruled out a move to the UK and hinted strongly that he may return to politics, saying he has more work to do. News perhaps for the current leader of Sarkozy's party, Jean-François Copé.

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Confusion in race to succeed Sarkozy

Both candidates fighting to become the next leader of France's main opposition party have claimed victory in a contest that has been marred by allegations of voting irregularities.

Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is hoping to become the next leader of the UMP party. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive

Jean-Francois Cope and former prime minister Francois Fillon both claimed victory within thirty minutes of one another last night.

Supporters of Cope said he was 1,000 votes ahead, while Fillon said he had a lead of more than 200 votes. Both camps have made accusations of vote fraud.

The contest to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as leader of the UMP party will now go to an internal voting commission who will announce the official results.

French police raid Sarkozy office

Journalists stand in front of the entrance of a building housing the new offices of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Credit: Reuters

Police raided the home and offices of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy today as part of a judicial inquiry into financial relations between his political camp and the richest woman in France, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, said the raids, a day after his client had left for Canada on holiday would show nothing and that he had already supplied information to investigators that debunked suspicions of secret meetings with Bettencourt.

  1. James Mates

Sarkozy narrows the gap in a French presidential poll

An IFOP poll published this evening shows Nicolas Sarkozy is now just 4% behind Francois Hollande: 52-48%.

He has gained two points in 24 hours - and the gap is now within the margin of error.

It seems the late momentum is all with Sarkozy. It seems the public responded well to his 'presidential' debating style versus the more aggressive Hollande.

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Francois Hollande supporters rally in Toulouse

Rally in Toulouse Credit: Mark Nelson/ITV News

Supporters of the French presidential candidate Francois Hollande gathered at a rally in Toulouse in southern France today.

The Socialist party leader is ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy in opinion polls by six to 10 points. Both leaders are battling for votes ahead of Sunday's decisive runoff election.

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