Nicolas Sarkozy goes back into retirement. (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy came in third in the center right Les Republicains party primary Sunday, knocking him out of contention for the nomination.

That result will likely be welcomed by President-elect Donald Trump. Sarkozy had threatened just this last week to slap a carbon tax on American goods if Trump goes through with his pledge to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Sarkozy conceded before all the votes were counted, when it was clear that he was all but certain to finish in third place.

A second place finish would have given the former president the chance to come back against his former prime minister Francois Fillon. After the poor showing, Sarkozy endorsed Fillon instead.

Going into the primary, polls had shown Sarkozy neck-and-neck with Fillon and Alain Juppe, prime minister under former president Jacques Chirac.

Instead, partly on the strength of a strong showing in the final pre-primary debate, Fillon did extremely well in the primary. He received nearly 45 percent of the vote to Juppe’s 28 percent and Sarkozy’s 20 percent of the vote, with 90 percent of the ballots counted. Four other minor candidates received between 2.6 and .03 percent of the vote.

The results spell a runoff election for Fillon and Juppe next Sunday, with Fillon the heavy favorite to win and take on the Socialists and the National Front for control of Elysee Palace.

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