Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy could receive a timely political boost - from a stalker who broke into his holiday villa on the French Riviera.
The stalker, described as a mentally unstable German national obsessed with Sarkozy's model wife Carla Bruni, was tackled by security before reaching France's former First Lady, interior ministry sources told Le Figaro newspaper.
"He could have got to Madame Sarkozy or her child, but luckily he was stopped in time," a Sarkozy aide told the newspaper.
Sarkozy is on holiday with his wife and their one-year-old daughter Giulia at Bruni's family-owned villa at Cap Nègre on the French Riviera. He was reportedly not home when the intruder broke in, and was informed a few days later.
The incident may have positive political ramifications for the UMP party figurehead, who has recently faced controversy over security costs for his summer holidays.
Earlier this week, Le Parisien newspaper published an article entitled 'Sarkozy's highly-protected holidays', accusing him of requiring more bodyguards than any of his predecessors.
Le Parisien claimed Sarkozy and family are safeguarded 24/7 by 10 agents of the elite police protection service for high-profile public figures, SPHP. Another 15 specially designated bodyguards from the CRS anti-riot force also take turns to keep the conservative politician under watch.
The 10 SPHP agents cost taxpayers €720,000 (£620,000) per year, according to Paris Match.
Sarkozy's predecessors Jacques Chirac and Valérie Giscard d'Estaing are protected by eight and six bodyguards respectively, AFP reported.
Sarkozy, who is believed to be preparing his political comeback, has refuted the security costs quoted in the French media.
"[Sarkozy] enjoys the same treatment as all former French presidents," his staff said in a statement.
"This [security] set-up is in no way defined by the person being protected but by services within the interior ministry," it added.