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News World news Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Sarkozy prepares to hand over presidency – and judicial immunity

Outgoing French president likely to return to law practice, but could be forced to explain himself over series of scandals

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 May 2012 12.05 EDT

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Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy prepares to hand over presidency – and judicial immunity

Outgoing French president likely to return to law practice, but could be forced to explain himself over series of scandals

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Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 May 2012 12.05 EDT

He has spent 30 bruising years in politics, often saying it would have been more pleasant to earn big money in private business, and now plans to return to work as a lawyer while his millionaire pop star wife takes to her tourbus with a new album. But after he hands power to the Socialist François Hollande next week, Nicolas Sarkozy's biggest post-presidential headache is likely to come from the justice system.

In a ceremony at the Élysée palace on Tuesday, Sarkozy will pass the presidency to France's first leftwing leader since François Mitterrand. He will then walk the final metres of red carpet to his grace-and-favour chauffeur-driven car and return home to Carla Bruni's west Paris mansion. He has said he wants to quit politics, although few believe him, and he has warned journalists: "You won't hear from me again."

But when Sarkozy's presidential judicial immunity officially ends on 16 June, he risks dominating the headlines once more, as he could be forced to explain himself to magistrates over a series of party funding scandals that have dogged his time in power.

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