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Ex-president Sarkozy, his party finances in shambles, returns to French politics' center stage

A little over a year after he declared that he would leave politics for good, France's Nicolas Sarkozy is back in the spotlight.

The combative, diminutive ex-president attended a meeting of his UMP party Monday where was welcomed like a star. It could mark his first step towards candidacy in the next presidential election in 2017.

It's the first time the 58-year-old Sarkozy has made a political appearance since he lost the presidency to Socialist Francois Hollande in May 2012 after just one term in office.

At that point, Sarkozy said he aspired to a new life with his wife and daughter.

Sarkozy appears to be rejoining the political fray because of the embarrassing state his old party finds itself in, on the edge of bankruptcy and riven with divisions.