( dpa ) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to prioritize politics over his private life again as recent opinion polls have shown a marked loss of his popularity, according to a Sunday paper.
"After a people phase we are returning to political action," the leader of the governing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and Sarkozy's confidant Patrick Devedjian told Le Journal du Dimanche.
The "transparency" of Sarkozy's private life had had "a perverse effect," he said. But Sarkozy would win popularity again in the campaign for March local elections.
"Nicolas is a hurricane in election campaigning," Devedjian told the paper.
According to a survey by pollster IFOP published on Sunday, Sarkozy is less popular than his Prime Minister Francois Fillon for the first time since his election as president.
Sarkozy's approval rating fell from 52 per cent to 47 per cent as older people in particular felt repelled by his style, according to the pollster.
Fillon, in contrast, increased his approval rating from 49 to 50 per cent despite increasing economic problems.
The prime minister is the driving force behind government reform and has been appearing modest and matter of fact.
In the face of his unexpected popularity he said only several days ago tongue-in-cheek, if he was becoming more popular than the president he could afford to put his foot in it any time.