Merkel and Blair to come back, Sarkozy to quit

Former French prime ministers François Fillon and Alain Juppé will vie for the conservative nomination in a primary run-off after handing former president Nicolas Sarkozy a shock defeat on Sunday. With the ruling Socialists all but written off, opinion polls suggest whoever wins the nomination will likely face – and defeat – far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off.  (France24)

Merkel said on Sunday evening that her decision to stand was not a trivial one, for the country or for herself.  She said her motivation was based on serving Germany and in using her talents for that purpose.  “I told the CDU that I was ready to stand again,” she said. “This election will be even more difficult than those we have had before as we are facing a strong polarisation” in the community.  (Deutsche Welle)

Tony Blair is positioning himself to play a pivotal role in shaping Britain’s Brexit deal by scouting out a power base in Westminster, The Sunday Times has learnt. The former prime minister is setting up an institute close to Whitehall and has held talks with senior ministers and officials as he seeks to re-enter British politics.

Eurosceptics welcomed Tony Blair’s political comeback and Brexit intervention, reported The Telegraph. Tory MPs said that the level of public anger still directed at the former Labour leader will simply embolden the Brexit movement.