Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe has resigned as leader of President Jacques Chirac’s ruling Union for a Popular Movement, paving the way for a party succession battle.
Juppe announced his resignation Friday, following his conviction earlier this year in a corruption case. He received a suspended prison sentence and was banned from public office for 10 years. The case is under appeal.
France’s powerful finance minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is vying for the party leadership. He is to address party members later Friday.
Mr. Chirac has sought to play down the finance minister’s influence. In a Bastille Day interview, Mr. Chirac said he makes the decisions and Mr. Sarkozy carries them out. Analysts say Mr. Sarkozy is positioning himself for a run for the French presidency in 2007, when Mr. Chirac’s current term ends.0