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Nicolas Sarkozy ( , born Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa on January 28, 1955) is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier.

Before his presidency, he was leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Under Jacques Chirac's presidency, he served as Minister of the Interior in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's (UMP) first two governments (from May 2002 to March 2004), then was appointed Minister of Financesmarker in Raffarin's last government (March 2004 to May 2005), and again Minister of the Interior in Dominique de Villepin's government (2005-2007).

Sarkozy was also president of the General council of the Hauts-de-Seinemarker department from 2004 to 2007 and mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest communes of France from 1983 to 2002. He was also Minister of the Budgetmarker in the government of Édouard Balladur (RPR, predecessor of the UMP) during François Mitterrand's last term.

Sarkozy is known for wanting to revitalize the French economy.He has pledged to revive the work ethic, promote new initiatives and fight intolerance. In foreign affairs, he has promised a strengthening of the entente cordiale with the United Kingdommarker and closer cooperation with the United Statesmarker. His nickname, "Sarko", is used by both supporters and opponents.

Personal life

Family background

Sarkozy is a Frenchman of mixed national and ethnic ancestry. He is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bocsa, ( ; some sources spell it Nagy-Bócsay Sárközy Pál István Ernő; ) a Hungarian aristocrat, and Andrée Jeanne "Dadu" Mallah (b. Parismarker, 12 October 1925), who is of French Catholic and Ottoman-Sephardic Jewish descent. They were married at Saint-François-de-Salesmarker, Paris XVII, on 8 February 1950 and divorced in 1959.

Pál Sárközy was born on 5 May 1928 in Budapestmarker into a family belonging to the lesser Hungarian nobility. They possessed lands and a small castle in the village of Alattyánmarker, near Szolnokmarker, 92 km (57 miles) east of Budapest. Pál Sárközy's father and grandfather held elective offices in the town of Szolnok. Although the Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (nagybócsai Sárközy) family was Protestant, Pál Sárközy's mother, Katalin Tóth de Csáford ( ), grandmother of Nicolas Sarkozy, belonged to a Catholic noble family.

As the Red Army entered Hungary in 1944, the Sárközy family fled to Germanymarker. They returned in 1945 but all their possessions had been seized. Pál Sárközy's father died soon afterwards and his mother, fearing that he would be drafted into the Hungarian People's Army or sent to Siberiamarker, urged him to leave the country and promised she would eventually follow him to Parismarker. Pál Sárközy fled to Austriamarker and then Germany while his mother reported to authorities that he had drowned in Lake Balatonmarker. Eventually, he arrived in Baden Badenmarker, near the French border, where the headquarters of the French Army in Germany were located, and there he met a recruiter for the French Foreign Legion. He signed up for five years, and was sent for training to Sidi Bel Abbesmarker, where the French Foreign Legion's headquarters were located. He was due to be sent to Indochina at the end of training, but the doctor who checked him before departure, who was also Hungarian, sympathised with him and gave him a medical discharge to save him from possible death at the hands of the Vietminh. He returned to civilian life in Marseillemarker in 1948 and, although he asked for French citizenship only in the 1970s (his legal status was that of a stateless person until then), he nonetheless gallicised his Hungarian name into "Paul Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa". He met Andrée Mallah (known as Dadu) in 1949.

Andrée Mallah, then a law student, was the daughter of Benedict Mallah, a well-off urologist and STD specialist with a well-established reputation in the mainly bourgeois 17th arrondissement of Parismarker. Benedict Mallah, originally named Aaron Mallah (and nicknamed Benico), was born in 1890 in the Sephardic Jewish community of (modern day Thessalonikimarker, Greecemarker). The family had originally been from Spainmarker, then resettled in Provence, southern France, and later moved to Salonica into the Jewish community established there by other Spanish expellees victims of the Spanish Inquisition. Benico Mallah, the son of jeweller Mordechai Mallah and Reyna Magriso, left Salonica, then still part of the Ottoman Empire, with his mother in 1904 at the age of 14 to attend the prestigious Lycée Lakanalmarker boarding school of Sceaux, in the southern suburbs of Parismarker. He studied medicine after his baccalaureate and decided to stay in France and become a French citizen. A doctor in the French Army during World War I, he met a recent war widow, Adèle Bouvier (1891–1956), from a bourgeois family of Lyonmarker, whom he married in 1917. Adèle Bouvier, Nicolas Sarkozy's grandmother, was a Catholic like the majority of French people. Mallah, for whom religion had reportedly never been a central issue, converted to Catholicism upon marrying Adèle Bouvier, which had been requested by Adèle's parents, and changed his name to Benedict. Although Benedict Mallah converted to Catholicism, he and his family nonetheless had to flee Paris and take refuge in a small farm in Corrèzemarker during World War II to avoid being arrested and delivered to the Germans. During the Holocaust, many of the Mallahs who stayed in Salonica or moved to France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. In total, 57 family members were murdered by the Nazis.

Paul Sarkozy and Andrée Mallah settled in the 17th arrondissement of Paris and had three sons: Guillaume, born in 1951, who is an entrepreneur in the textile industry and current vice president of the MEDEF (French union of employers); Nicolas, born in 1955; and François, born in 1957 (an MBA and manager of a health care consultancy company. In 1959, Paul Sarkozy left his wife and his three children. He later remarried three times and had two more children. His third wife, Christine de Ganay, married U.S. ambassador Frank G. Wisner.

Sarkozy's half-brother, Olivier, was chosen by the Carlyle Group in March 2008 as co-head and managing director of its recently launched global financial services division.

Early life

During Sarkozy's childhood, his father refused to give his wife's family any financial help, even though he had founded his own advertising agency and had become wealthy. The family lived in a small mansion owned by Sarkozy's grandfather, Benedict Mallah, in the 17th Arrondissementmarker. The family later moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest communes of the Île-de-Francemarker région immediately west of the 17th Arrondissement just outside of Paris. According to Sarkozy, his staunchly Gaullist grandfather was more of an influence on him than his father, whom he rarely saw. Sarkozy was, accordingly, raised Catholic.

Sarkozy said that being abandoned by his father shaped much of who he is today. He also has said that, in his early years, he felt inferior in relation to his wealthier classmates. "What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood", he said later.

Education

Sarkozy was enrolled in the Lycée Chaptal, a state-funded public middle and high school in Parismarker's 8th arrondissementmarker, where he failed his sixième. His family then sent him to the Cours Saint-Louis de Monceau, a private Catholic school in the 17th arrondissement, where he was reportedly a mediocre student, but where he nonetheless obtained his baccalauréat in 1973. He enrolled at the Université Paris X Nanterre, where he graduated with a Master in Private law, and later with a DEA degree in Business law. Paris X Nanterre had been the starting place for the May '68 student movement and was still a stronghold of leftist students. Described as a quiet student, Sarkozy soon joined the right-wing student organization, in which he was very active. He completed his military service as a part time Air Force cleaner. After graduating, he entered the Institut d'Études Politiques de Parismarker (1979-1981) but failed to graduate due to an insufficient command of the English language. After passing the bar, he became a lawyer specializing in business and family law, and was one of Silvio Berlusconi's top French advocates.

Relationships

Marie-Dominique Culioli

Sarkozy married his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, on 23 September 1982; her father was a pharmacist from Vicomarker (a village north of Ajacciomarker, Corsicamarker). They had two sons, Pierre (born in 1985), now a hip-hop producer, and Jean (born in 1986) now a regional councillor in the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. Sarkozy's best man was the prominent right-wing politician Charles Pasqua, later to become a political opponent. Sarkozy divorced Culioli in 1996, although they had already been separated for several years.

Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz

As mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Sarkozy met former fashion model and public relations executive Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (great-granddaughter of composer Isaac Albéniz and daughter of a Moldovanmarker father), when he officiated at her wedding to television host Jacques Martin. In 1988, she left her husband for Sarkozy, and divorced Martin one year later. Sarkozy married her in October 1996, with witnesses Martin Bouygues and Bernard Arnault They have one son, Louis, born 23 April 1997.

Between 2002 and 2005, the couple often appeared together on public occasions, with Cécilia Sarkozy acting as the chief aide for her husband. On 25 May 2005, however, the Swissmarker newspaper Le Matin revealed that she had left Sarkozy for French-Moroccanmarker national Richard Attias, head of Publicis in New York. There were other accusations of a private nature in Le Matin, which led to Sarkozy suing the paper. In the meantime, he was said to have had an affair with a journalist of Le Figaro, Anne Fulda.

Sarkozy and Cécilia ultimately divorced on 15 October 2007, soon after his election as President. She was his second wife.

Carla Bruni

Less than a month after separating from Cecilia, Sarkozy met Italian-born singer Carla Bruni at a dinner party, and soon entered a relationship with her. They married on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palacemarker in Paris.

Personal wealth

Sarkozy declared to the Constitutional Council a net worth of 2 million, most of the assets being in the form of life insurance policies. As the French President, one of his first actions was to give himself a raise: his yearly salary went from €101,000 to €240,000 (to match his European/French peers) . He is also entitled to a mayoral pension as a former mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. He also receives a yearly council pension as a former member of the council of the Hauts-de-Seinemarker department.

Member of National Assembly

Sarkozy is recognised by both right and left as a skilled politician and striking orator. His supporters within France emphasize his charisma, political innovation and willingness to "make a dramatic break" amid mounting disaffection against "politics as usual". Overall, he is considered more pro-U.S.marker and pro-Israelimarker than most French politicians.

Since November 2004, Sarkozy has been president of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), France's major right-wing political party, and he was Minister of the Interior in the government of Dominique de Villepin, with the honorific title of Minister of State, making him effectively the number three official in the French State after President Jacques Chirac and the prime minister. His ministerial responsibilities included law enforcement and working to co-ordinate relationships between the national and local governments, as well as Minister of Worship (in this role he created the CFCM, French Council of Muslim Faith). Previously, he was a deputy to the French National Assembly. He was forced to resign this position in order to accept his ministerial appointment. He previously also held several ministerial posts, including Finance Minister.

In government

Sarkozy's political career began when he was 22, when he became a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine. A member of the Neo-Gaullist party RPR, he went on to be elected mayor of that town, after the death of the incumbent mayor Achille Peretti. Sarkozy had been close to Peretti, as his mother was Peretti's secretary. The senior RPR politician at the time, Charles Pasqua, wanted to become mayor, and asked Sarkozy to organize his campaign. Instead Sarkozy profited from Pasqua's short illness to propel himself into the office of mayor. He was the youngest mayor of any town in France with a population of over 50,000. He served from 1983 to 2002. In 1988, he became a deputy in the National Assembly.

In 1993, Sarkozy was in the national news for personally negotiating with the "Human Bomb", a man who had taken small children hostage in a kindergarten in Neuilly. The "Human Bomb" was killed after two days of talks by policemen of the RAID, who entered the school stealthily while the attacker was resting.

From 1993 to 1995, he was Minister for the Budget and spokesman for the executive in the cabinet of Prime Minister Édouard Balladur. Throughout most of his early career, Sarkozy had been seen as a protégé of Jacques Chirac. During his tenure, he increased France's public debt more than any other French Budget Minister except his predecessor, by the equivalent of €200 billion (USD260 billion) (FY 1994-1996). The first two budgets he submitted to the parliament (budgets for FY1994 and FY1995) assumed a yearly budget deficit equivalent to six percent of GDP. According to the Maastricht Treaty, the French yearly budget deficit may not exceed three percent of France's GDP.

In 1995, he spurned Chirac and backed Édouard Balladur for President of France. After Chirac won the election, Sarkozy lost his position as Minister for the Budget and found himself outside the circles of power.

However, he returned after the right-wing defeat at the 1997 parliamentary election, as the number two candidate of the RPR. When the party leader Philippe Séguin resigned, in 1999, he took the leadership of the Neo-Gaullist party. But it obtained its worst result at the 1999 European Parliament election, winning 12.7% of the votes, less than the dissident Rally for France of Charles Pasqua. Sarkozy lost the RPR leadership.
Nicolas Sarkozy speaking at the congress of his party, 28 November 2004
In 2002, however, after his re-election as President of the French Republic (see French presidential election, 2002), Chirac appointed Sarkozy as French Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, despite Sarkozy's support of Edouard Balladur for French President in 1995. Following Chirac's 14 July keynote speech on road safety, Sarkozy as interior minister pushed through new legislation leading to the mass purchase of speed cameras and a campaign to increase the awareness of dangers on the roads.

In the cabinet reshuffle of 31 March 2004, Sarkozy became Finance Minister. Tensions continued to build between Sarkozy and Chirac and within the UMP party, as Sarkozy's intentions of becoming head of the party after the resignation of Alain Juppé became clear.

In party elections of November 2004, Sarkozy became leader of the UMP with 85% of the vote. In accordance with an agreement with Chirac, he resigned as Finance Minister. Sarkozy's ascent was marked by the division of UMP between sarkozystes, such as Sarkozy's "first lieutenant", Brice Hortefeux, and Chirac loyalists, such as Jean-Louis Debré.

Sarkozy was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by President Chirac in February 2005. He was re-elected on 13 March 2005 to the National Assembly (as required by the constitution, he had to resign as a deputy when he became minister in 2002).

On 31 May 2005 the main French news radio station France Info reported a rumour that Sarkozy was to be reappointed Minister of the Interior in the government of Dominique de Villepin without resigning from the UMP leadership. This was confirmed on 2 June 2005, when the members of the government were officially announced.

First term as Minister of the Interior



Towards the end of his first term as Minister of the Interior, in 2004, Sarkozy was the most divisive conservative politician in France, according to polls conducted at the beginning of 2004.

Sarkozy has sought to ease the sometimes tense relationships between the general French population and the Muslim community. Unlike the Catholic Church in France with their official leaders or Protestants with their umbrella organisations, the French Muslim community had a lack of structure with no group that could legitimately deal with the French government on their behalf. Sarkozy supported the foundation in May 2003 of the private non-profit Conseil français du culte musulman ("French Council of the Muslim Faith"), an organisation meant to be representative of French Muslims. In addition, Sarkozy has suggested amending the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, mostly in order to be able to finance mosques and other Muslim institutions with public funds so that they are less reliant on money from outside of France.

Minister of Finance

During his short appointment as Minister of Financemarker, Sarkozy was responsible for introducing a number of policies. The degree to which this reflected libéralisme (a hands-off approach to running the economy) or more traditional French state dirigisme (intervention) is controversial. He resigned the day following his election as president of the UMP.

  • In September 2004, Sarkozy oversaw the reduction of the government ownership stake in France Télécom from 50.4 percent to 41 percent.
  • Sarkozy backed a partial nationalisation of the engineering company Alstom decided by his predecessor when the company was exposed to bankruptcy in 2003.
  • In June 2004, Sarkozy reached an agreement with the major retail chains in France to concertedly lower prices on household goods by an average of two percent; the success of this measure is disputed, with studies suggesting that the decrease was close to one percent in September.
  • Taxes: Sarkozy avoided taking a position on the ISF (solidarity tax on wealth). This is considered an ideological symbol by many on the left and right. Some in the business world and on the liberal right, such as Alain Madelin, wanted it abolished. For Sarkozy, that would have risked being categorised by the left as a gift to the richest classes of society at a time of economic difficulties.


Villepin government

Second term as Minister of the Interior

During his second term at the Ministry of the Interior, Sarkozy was initially more discreet about his ministerial activities: instead of focusing on his own topic of law and order, many of his declarations addressed wider issues, since he was expressing his opinions as head of the UMP party.

However, the civil unrest in autumn 2005 put law enforcement in the spotlight again. Sarkozy was accused of having provoked the unrest by calling young delinquents from housing projects "rabble" ("racaille") in Argenteuil near Paris, and controversially suggested cleansing the minority suburbs with a Kärcher. After the accidental death of two youths, which sparked the riots, Sarkozy first blamed it on "hoodlums" and gangsters. These remarks were sharply criticised by many on the left wing and by a member of his own government, Delegate Minister for Equal Opportunities Azouz Begag.

After the rioting, he made a number of announcements on future policy: selection of immigrants, greater tracking of immigrants, and a reform on the 1945 ordinance government justice measures for young delinquents.

UMP leader

Before he was elected President of France, Sarkozy was president of UMP, the French conservative party, elected with 85 percent of the vote. During his presidency, the number of members has significantly increased. In 2005, he supported a "yes" vote in the French referendum on the European Constitution, but the "No" vote won.

Throughout 2005, Sarkozy called for radical changes in France's economic and social policies. These calls culminated in an interview with Le Monde on 8 September 2005, during which he claimed that the French had been misled for 30 years by false promises. Among other issues:
  • he called for a simplified and "fairer" taxation system, with fewer loopholes and a maximum taxation rate (all direct taxes combined) at 50 percent of revenue;
  • he approved measures reducing or denying social support to unemployed workers who refuse work offered to them;
  • he pressed for a reduction in the budget deficit, claiming that the French state has been living off credit for some time.


Such policies are what are called in France libéral (that is, in favour of laissez-faire economic policies) or, with a pejorative undertone, ultra-libéral. Sarkozy rejects this label of libéral and prefers to call himself a pragmatist.

Sarkozy opened another avenue of controversy by declaring that he wanted a reform of the immigration system, with quotas designed to admit the skilled workers needed by the French economy. He also wants to reform the current French system for foreign students, saying that it enables foreign students to take open-ended curricula in order to obtain residency in France; instead, he wants to select the best students to the best curricula in France.

In early 2006, the French parliament adopted a controversial bill known as DADVSI, which reforms French copyright law. Since his party was divided on the issue, Sarkozy stepped in and organised meetings between various parties involved. Later, groups such as the Odebi League and EUCD.info alleged that Sarkozy personally and unofficially supported certain amendments to the law, which enacted strong penalties against designers of peer-to-peer systems.

Presidential campaign

Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy was a likely candidate for the presidency in 2007; in an often-repeated comment made on television channel France 2, when asked by a journalist whether he thought about the presidential election when he shaved in the morning, Sarkozy commented, "not just when I shave".

On 14 January 2007, Sarkozy was chosen by the UMP to be its candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Sarkozy, who was running unopposed, won 98 percent of the votes. Of the 327,000 UMP members who could vote, 69 percent participated in the online ballot.

In February 2007 Sarkozy appeared on a televised debate on TF1marker where he expressed his support for affirmative action and the freedom to work overtime. Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, he advocated civil unions and the possibility for same-sex partners to inherit under the same regime as married couples. The law has been voted in July 2007.

On 7 February, Sarkozy decided in favour of a projected second, non-nuclear, aircraft carrier for the national Navy (adding to the nuclear Charles de Gaulle), during an official visit in Toulonmarker with Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie. "This would allow permanently having an operational ship, taking into account the constraints of maintenance", he explained.

On 21 March, President Jacques Chirac announced his support for Sarkozy. Chirac pointed out that Sarkozy had been chosen as presidential candidate for the ruling UMP party, and said: "So it is totally natural that I give him my vote and my support." To focus on his campaign, Sarkozy stepped down as interior minister on 26 March.

During the campaign, rival candidates had accused Sarkozy of being a "candidate for brutality" and of presenting hardline views about France's future. Opponents also accused him of courting conservative voters in policy-making in a bid to capitalise on right-wing sentiments among some communities. However, his popularity was sufficient to see him polling as the frontrunner throughout the later campaign period, consistently ahead of rival Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal.

The first round of the presidential election was held on 22 April 2007. Sarkozy came in first with 31.18 percent of the votes, ahead of Ségolène Royal of the Socialists with 25.87 percent. In the second round, Sarkozy came out on top to win the election with 53.06 percent of the votes ahead of Ségolène Royal with 46.94 percent. In his speech immediately following the announcement of the election results, Sarkozy stressed the need for France's modernisation, but also called for national unity, mentioning that Royal was in his thoughts. In that speech, he claimed "The French have chosen to break with the ideas, habits and behaviour of the past. I will restore the value of work, authority, merit and respect for the nation."

Political career

  • President of the French Republic : Since 2007


Electoral mandates

  • Member of the National Assembly of France for Hauts-de-Seinemarker : 1988-1993 (became minister in 1993) / 1995-2002 (became minister in 2002) / reelected between March-June 2005 (became minister in June 2005)


  • Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 1983-2002 (Reelected in 1989, 1995, 2001, resignation in 2002)








  • Vice-president of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seinemarker : 1986-1988 (Resignation)


  • President of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seinemarker : 2004-2007 (resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007)


Governmental functions

  • Minister of Budget and government's spokesman : 1993-1995


  • Minister of Communication and government's spokesman : 1994-1995


  • Minister of State, minister of Interior, of the Internal Security and Local Freedoms : 2002-2004


  • Minister of State, minister of Economy, Finance and Industry : March-November 2004 (Resignation)


  • Minister of State, minister of Interior and Planning : 2005-2007 (Resignation)


Political functions





Presidency

On 6 May 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy became the sixth person to be elected President of the Fifth Republic (which was established in 1958), and the 23rd president in French history. He is the first French president to have been born after World War II.

The official transfer of power from Jacques Chirac took place on 16 May at 11:00 am (9:00 UTC) at the Élysée Palacemarker, where he was given the authorization codes of the French nuclear arsenal. In the afternoon, the new President flew to Berlinmarker to meet with Germanmarker Chancellor Angela Merkel.



Under Sarkozy's government, François Fillon replaced Dominique de Villepin as Prime Minister. Sarkozy appointed Bernard Kouchner, the left-wing founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, as his foreign minister, leading to Kouchner's expulsion from the Socialist Partymarker. In addition to Kouchner, three more Sarkozy ministers are from the left, including Eric Besson, who served as Ségolène Royal's economic adviser at the beginning of her campaign. Sarkozy also appointed seven women to form a total cabinet of 15; one, Justice Minister Rachida Dati, is the first woman of Northern African origin to serve in a French cabinet. Of the 15, two attended the elite Ecole Nationale d'Administrationmarker (ENA). The ministers were reorganised, with the controversial creation of a 'Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development' – given to his right-hand man Brice Hortefeux — and of a 'Ministry of Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Administration' — handed out to Éric Wœrth, supposed to prepare the replacement of only a third of all civil servants who retire. However, after the 17 June parliamentary elections, the Cabinet has been adjusted to 15 ministers and 16 deputy ministers, totalling 31 officials.

Shortly after taking office, Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombianmarker president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group, especially Franco-Colombianmarker politician Ingrid Betancourt. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC's "chancellor" Rodrigo Granda. Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya to their country. In exchange, he signed with Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts – and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILAN antitank missile sale. The contract was the first made by Libyamarker since 2004, and was negotiated with MBDA, a subsidiary of EADS. Another 128 millions euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system. The Socialist Partymarker (PS) and the Communist Party (PCF) criticised a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state". The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation.

On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendammmarker, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 in order to prevent global warming. He then pushed forward Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn as European nominee to the International Monetary Fundmarker (IMF). Critics alleged that Sarkozy proposed to nominate Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF to deprive the Socialist Party of one of its more popular figures.

The UMP, Sarkozy's party, won a majority at the June 2007 legislative election, although by less than expected. In July, the UMP majority, seconded by the Nouveau Centre, ratified one of Sarkozy's electoral promises, which was to partially revoke the inheritance tax. The inheritance tax formerly brought eight billion euros into state coffers.

Sarkozy's UMP majority prepared a budget that reduced taxes, in particular for upper middle-class people, allegedly in an effort to boost GDP growth, but did not reduce state expenditures. He was criticised by the European Commission for doing so.

Sarkozy broke with the custom of amnestying traffic tickets and of releasing thousands of prisoners from overcrowded jails on Bastille Day, a tradition that Napoleon had started in 1802 to commemorate the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.

Sarkozy's government issued a decree on 7 August 2007 to generalise a voluntary biometric profiling program of travellers in airports. The program, called 'Parafes', was to use fingerprints. The new database would be interconnected with the Schengen Information System (SIS) as well as with a national database of wanted persons (FPR). The Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) protested against this new decree, opposing itself to the recording of fingerprints and to the interconnection between the SIS and the FPR.

On 21 July 2008, the French parliament passed constitutional reforms which Sarkozy had made one of the key pledges of his presidential campaign. The vote was 539 to 357, one vote over the three-fifths majority required; the changes are not yet finalized. They would introduce a two-term limit for the presidency, and end the president's right of collective pardon. They would allow the president to address parliament in-session, and parliament, to set its own agenda. They would give parliament a veto over some presidential appointments, while ending government control over parliament's committee system. He has claimed that these reforms strengthen parliament, while some opposition socialist lawmakers have described it as a "consolidation of a monocracy".

On 23 July 2008, parliament voted the “loi de modernisation de l'économie” (Modernization of the Economy Law) which loosened restrictions on retail prices and reduced limitations on the creation of businesses. The Government has also made changes to long-standing French work-hour regulations, allowing employers to negotiate overtime with employees and making all hours worked past the traditional French 35-hour week tax-free.

However, as a result of the global financial crisis that came to a head in September 2008, Sarkozy has returned to the state interventionism of his predecessors, declaring that "laissez-faire capitalism is over" and denouncing the "dictatorship of the market". Confronted with the suggestion that he had become a socialist, he responded: "Have I become socialist? Perhaps." He has also pledged to create 100,000 state-subsidised jobs. This reversion to dirigisme is seen as an attempt to stem the growing popularity of revolutionary socialist leader Olivier Besancenot.

France wielded special international power when Sarkozy held the rotating EU Presidency from July 2008 through December 2008. Sarkozy has publicly stated his intention to attain EU approval of a progressive energy package before the end of his EU Presidency. This energy package would clearly define climate change objectives for the EU and hold members to specific reductions in emissions. In further support of his collaborative outlook on climate change, Sarkozy has led the EU into a partnership with Chinamarker. On December 6, 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy, current Chairman of the European Union, met the Dalai Lama in Polandmarker and outraged China, which has announced that it would postpone the China-EU summit indefinitely. On 3 April 2009, at the NATOmarker Summit in Strasbourgmarker, Sarkozy announced that France would offer asylum to a former Guantanamo captivemarker.


"We are on the path to failure if we continue to act as we have," French President Nicolas Sarkozy cautioned at the U.N. Climate Summit Tuesday September 22, 2009.

Middle East

Sarkozy played some vital roles in Middle East affairs. On January 5, 2009, Sarkozy called for a ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip Conflict. The plan, which was jointly proposed by Sarkozy and Egyptianmarker President Hosni Mubarak envisions the continuation of the delivery of aid to Gazamarker and talks with Israelmarker on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas smuggles its rockets into Gaza through the Egyptian border. Welcoming the proposal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a "ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security".

Leading staff members

  • General secretary - Claude Guéant
  • Chief of the private military staff - Vice-amiral d'escadre Édouard Guillaud
  • Special advisor to the President - Henri Guaino
  • Advisors to the President - Raymond Soubie and Catherine Pégard
  • Diplomatic advisor and sherpa - Jean-David Levitte
  • Deputy secretary general - François Pérol
  • Head of cabinet - Emmanuelle Mignon
  • Advisors to the Presidency - Arnold Munnich and Patrick Ouart
  • Head of cabinet - Cédric Goubet


Public image

Sarkozy was named the 68th best-dressed person in the world by Vanity Fair, alongside David Beckham and Brad Pitt. Beside publicizing, at times, and at others, refusing to publicise his ex-wife Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz's image, Sarkozy takes care of his own personal image, sometimes to the point of censorship — such as in the Paris Match affair, when he allegedly forced its director to resign following an article on his ex-wife and her affair with Publicis executive Richard Attias, or pressures exercised on the Journal du dimanche, which was preparing to publish an article concerning Ciganer-Albéniz's decision not to vote in the second round of the 2007 presidential election. In its 9 August 2007 edition, Paris Match retouched a photo of Sarkozy in order to erase a love handle. His official portrait destined for all French town halls was done by SIPA photographer Philippe Warrin, better known for his paparazzi work.

Former Daily Telegraph journalist Colin Randall has highlighted Sarkozy's tighter control of his image and frequent interventions in the media: "he censors a book, or fires the chief editor of a weekly." Sarkozy is reported by Reuters to be sensitive about his height (believed to be 5 ft 5in or 5 ft 6in). He has been noted as wearing substantially heeled shoes and standing on hidden platforms, while the French media have pointed out that Bruni frequently wears flats when in public with him. In 2009, this was the subject of a political row, when a worker at a factory where Sarkozy gave a speech said she was asked to stand next to him because she was of a similar height (this story was corroborated by some union officials). The president's office called the accusation "completely absurd and grotesque", while the Socialist Party mocked his fastidious preparation.

Sarkozy, alongside Tony Blair, is part of the inspiration for Mathieu Amalric's portrayal of Dominic Greene, the villain of the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Sarkozy lost a suit against a manufacturer of Sarkozy voodoo dolls, in which he claimed that he had a right to his own image.

Controversies

Generally speaking, Sarkozy is a bête noire of the Left, and is also criticised by some on the right, most vocally by the supporters of Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, such as Jean-Louis Debré.

The Marianne accused him of changing opinion in an Airbus affair. The French Communist Party's magazine L'Humanité accused Sarkozy of being a populist.
Many on the Left have a particular distrust for Nicolas Sarkozy; specific "anti-Sarko" movements have been started


In the midst of a tense period and following a shooting that killed an 11-year-old boy in the banlieue (suburb) of La Courneuve in June 2005, Sarkozy quoted a local resident and vowed to clean the area out "with a Kärcher" (nettoyer la cité au Kärcher, referring to a well-known Germanmarker brand of pressure cleaning equipment), and two days before the 2005 Paris riots he referred to the criminal youth of the housing projects as voyous (thugs) and racaille, a slang term which can be translated into English as rabble, scum or riff-raff; this was criticised as being inappropriate language by the French Communist Party's L'Humanité.

In September 2005 Sarkozy was accused of pushing for a hasty inquiry into an arson attack on a police station in Paumarker, of which the alleged perpetrators were acquitted for lack of proof. On 22 June 2005, he announced to law enforcement officials that he had questioned the Minister of Justice about the future of "the judge" who had freed a man on parole, who had later committed a murder.

Nicolas Sarkozy opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. However, he was critical of the way Jacques Chirac and his foreign minister Dominique de Villepin expressed France's opposition to the war. Talking at the French-American Foundation in Washington, D.C.marker on 12 September 2006, he denounced what he called the "French arrogance" and said: "It is bad manners to embarrass one's allies or sound like one is taking delight in their troubles." He also added: "We must never again turn our disagreements into a crisis." Jacques Chirac reportedly said in private that Sarkozy's speech was "appalling" and "a shameful act".

Even though his current foreign minister Bernard Kouchner (excluded from the Socialist party after his inclusion in François Fillon's government) had been one of the few supporters in France of removal of Saddam Hussein from power, Sarkozy's stance on the war has not changed.

A few weeks before the first round of the 2007 presidential elections, Sarkozy said during an interview with philosopher Michel Onfray that he thinks disorders such as paedophilia and depression have a genetic as well as social basis, famously stating "I don't agree with you, I'd be inclined to think that one is born a paedophile, and it is actually a problem that we do not know how to cure this disease"; he also claimed that suicides among youth were linked to genetic predispositions by stating, "I don't want to give parents a complex. It's not exclusively the parents' fault every time a youngster commits suicide." These statements were criticised by some scientists, including controversial geneticist Axel Kahn. Sarkozy later said, "What part is innate and what part is acquired? At least let's debate it, let's not close the door to all debate."

On 23 February 2008, Sarkozy was filmed by a reporter for French newspaper Le Parisien having the following exchange while visiting the Paris International Agricultural Showmarker:
While quickly crossing the hall Saturday morning, in the middle of the crowd, Sarkozy encounters a recalcitrant visitor who refuses to shake his hand. "Ah no, don't touch me!", said the man. The president retorted immediately: "Get lost, then." "You're making me dirty", yelled the man. With a frozen smile, Sarkozy says, his teeth glistening, a refined "Get lost, then, poor dumb-ass, go."This exchange has been cause for much humour and debate regarding its propriety in the French press. It should also be noted that a precise translation into English has many possible variations.On 28 August 2008, Hervé Eon, from Lavalmarker came to an anti-Sarkozy demonstration with a sign bearing the words Casse-toi pov' con, the words Sarkozy had uttered. He was arrested for causing offence to the presidential function and the prosecutor required a fine of 1000€. This incident was widely reported on, in particular as Sarkozy, as president of the Republic, is immune from prosecution, notably restricting Eon's rights to sue Sarkozy for defamation.

In 2004, he published a book called La République, les religions, l'espérance ("The Republic, Religions, and Hope"), in which he argued that the young should not be brought up solely on secular or republican values. He also advocated reducing the separation of church and state, arguing for the government subsidy of mosques in order to encourage Islamic integration into French society. He flatly opposes financing of religious institutions with funds from outside France. After meeting with Tom Cruise, Sarkozy was criticised by some for meeting with a member of the Church of Scientology, which is classified as a cult (secte translates "cult") in France (see Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France). Sarkozy stated that "the roots of France are essentially Christian" at a speech in Romemarker in December 2007. He also called Islam as "one of the greatest and most beautiful civilizations the world has known" at a speech in Riyadhmarker in January 2008. Both comments drew criticism.

On 27 July 2007, Sarkozy delivered a speech in Senegalmarker, written by Henri Guaino, in which he made reference to "African peasants". The very controversial remarks were widely condemned by Africans, which was widely seen as racist. South African president Thabo Mbeki praised Sarkozy's speech, which raised criticism by some in the South African media.

Awards and honours

French honours



Other countries



Notes

  1. Astier, Henri; What now for Nicolas Sarkozy?, BBC News, 16 May 2007
  2. Bennhold, Katrin; Sarkozy pledges quick action on French economy, International Herald Tribune, 7 May 2007.
  3. Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy (BBC)
  4. Anderson, John Ward and Molly Moore; Sarkozy Wins, Vows to Restore Pride in Franc, Washington Post, 7 May 2007.
  5. It is the "westernised", or "internationalised", version of his Hungarian name, in which the given name is put first (whereas in Hungarian given names come last), and the French aristocratic particle "de" is used instead of the Hungarian aristocratic ending "-i". This "westernisation" of Hungarian names is frequent, particularly for people with an aristocratic name. Check for example the leader of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, whose Hungarian name is nagybányai Horthy Miklós, but who is known in English as Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya. The French name of Pál Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa from 1948 is Paul Étienne Arnaud Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, where the given name Pál has been translated into Paul in French, and the acute accents on the "a" of Sarközy and the "o" of Bocsa were dropped as these letters never carry an acute accent (accent aigu) in French. The trema on the "o" of Sárközy was kept, probably because French typewriters allow this combination, whereas it is impossible to write "a" or "o" with an acute accent using a French typewriter.
  6. Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy
  7. Wargs.com
  8. Weekly Standard, France girds for the Sarko-Ségo showdown
  9. The tough new president still loves his mum, France's real first lady - The Guardian - Angelique Chrisafis - 14 May 2007
  10. Sarkozy's Jewish roots Australian JewishNews 8 May 2007
  11. Bioalliancepharma.fr
  12. Nick Clarck, Carlyle poaches Olivier Sarkozy, The Independent, 4 March 2008
  13. BBC News
  14. see Catherine Nay's semi-official biography
  15. Un pouvoir nommé désir, Catherine Nay, 2007
  16. Newsnours.com
  17. Augustin Scalbert, Un soupçon de vantardise sur les CV ministériels, Rue 89, 18 September 2007
  18. See Catherine Nay's semi-official biography
  19. Berlusconi : le "bon Nicolas Sarkozy" a été mon avocat
  20. Corfù, il vertice del disgelo "Riparte collaborazione Nato-Russia" Il Cavaliere: "Mandai il mio avvocato Sarkozy da lui per la Georgia..."
  21. Berlusconi al vertice Nato-Russia "Quando mandai l'avvocato Sarkozy"
  22. Rhapsody.com
  23. Spiegel.de
  24. Netglimse.com
  25. BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Sarkozy soap opera grips Paris
  26. Huliq.com
  27. Globaljournalist.org
  28. France begins to grow weary with the Sarkozy soap opera - The Guardian, 13 January 2008
  29. "French Populism", by Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2007 Edition, French version , English translation
  30. Le Parisien, 11 January 2007
  31. Dette publique de la France
  32. Sauced Sarkozy Felice E. Baker, The Dartmouth Independent, 31 October 2007
  33. French Constitution, article 23
  34. JO associations, 28 May 2003
  35. WorldWide Religious News
  36. Le gouvernement finalise la privatisation de France Télécom
  37. Bruxelles valide le sauvetage d'Alstom
  38. Le Quotidien de l'Expansion, 30 September 2004
  39. Le Nouvel Observateur, press review, 21 October 2004
  40. Azouz Begag, principal opposant à Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Monde, 2 November 2005
  41. Interview with Le Monde, 8 September 2005
  42. Broadcast of "France 2", 19 November 2003
  43. " Sarkozy nod for presidential run", BBC News, 14 January 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  44. It was included in the paquet fiscal that has been one of the first laws passed in Parliament
  45. Sarkozy pour un deuxième porte-avions français (AFP)
  46. France's Jacques Chirac Backs Nicolas Sarkozy. 21 March 2007.
  47. French confused over the real Sarkozy. 18 April 2007
  48. Radiant Cécilia puts Sarkozy in the shade
  49. Communiqué de la Présidence de la République concernant la nomination du Premier ministre. Élysée Palace, 17 May 2007
  50. France's New Government - A study in perpetual motion, The Economist, 23 June 2007
  51. Llama G8 a FARC contribuir a liberación de rehenes, La Cronica, 8 June 2007
  52. Molly Moore, France's Sarkozy Off to a Running Start, Washington Post, 4 August 2007
  53. Tripoli annonce un contrat d'armement avec la France, l'Elysée dans l'embarras, Le Monde, 2 August 2007
  54. FMI: Strauss-Kahn candidat officiel de l'Union européenne, Le Figaro, 10 July 2007
  55. Reuters, "France's Sarkozy wants Strauss-Kahn as IMF head" Sat 7 July 2007 2:38PM EDT read here
  56. Les députés votent la quasi-suppression des droits de succession, Le Figaro, 13 July 2007
  57. Les droits de succession (presque) supprimés, Libération, 13 July 2007
  58. Droits de succession: pour une minorité de ménages aisés, L'Humanité, 7 June 2007
  59. Généralisation du fichage biométrique volontaire des voyageurs dans les aéroports français, Le Monde, 8 August 2007
  60. France backs constitution reform; BBC News
  61. Eubusiness.com/
  62. France's Sarkozy meets Dalai Lama as China fumes
  63. NPR.org
  64. Arrêté du 16 mai 2007 portant nomination à la Présidence de la République Journal Officiel
  65. French President Is Best Dressed Pol, CBS, 9 August 2007
  66. Frédéric Pagès, " Cécilia, dame d'enfer" in Le Canard enchaîné, 22 August 2007
  67. Cécilia Sarkozy n'a pas voté... scoop censuré du JDD, Rue 89, 13 May 2007
  68. Sarkozy: les poignées de l'amour, L'Express, 22 August 2007
  69. Un bourrelet relance le débat sur la retouche d'images, Rue 89, 23 August 2007
  70. Topless Sarkozy's love handles airbrushed away, Foreign Policy blog, 22 August 2007
  71. Chloé Leprince, Pour le nouveau Président, la rupture commence par l'image, Rue 89, 21 August 2007
  72. "France enjoys Sarkozy's voodoo doll setback", by Katrin Bennhold, International Herald Tribune, October 30, 2008
  73. Cette droite qui dit «non» à Sarkozy
  74. la-Croix.com : Boutin renonce à se présenter et soutient Sarkozy
  75. Marianne, Le retournement de Sarkozy sur Airbus, 5 March 2007
  76. L'Humanité, Humanite.presse.fr, 11 June 2005.
  77. answering to a resident who addressed Sarkozy with "Quand nous débarrassez-vous de cette racaille ?"(When will you get rid us from these dregs) (France 5, Arrêt sur images 6 November 2005)
  78. L'Humanité, Nicolas Sarkozy pompier pyromane, 2 November 2005
  79. Le Nouvel Observateur, 1 October 2005
  80. Le Monde, 23 June 2005
  81. Philosophie Magazine, nr 8, April 2007; online extracts
  82. L'Humanité, 4 April 2007, « Un gène ne commande jamais un destin humain »
  83. Le Monde, 11 April 2007, Tollé dans la communauté scientifique après les propos de Nicolas Sarkozy sur la génétique
  84. The Guardian, 10 April 2007, « Row over Sarkozy's paedophilia comment refuses to go away »
  85. "Premiers pas mouvementés de Sarkozy au salon de l'agriculture"
  86. In French: Lors de sa traversée éclair du salon samedi matin, en plein bain de foule, Sarkozy croise un visiteur récalcitrant qui refuse sa poignée de main. «Ah non, touche-moi pas», prévient-il. Le chef de l'Etat rétorque sans détour : «Casse-toi, alors.» «Tu me salis», embraye l'homme. Le sourire se crispe. Sarkozy lâche, desserrant à peine les dents, un raffiné «Casse-toi alors, pauv'con, va».
  87. "French Politics: Found on the web", by Art Goldhammer
  88. "French supporters defend Sarkozy", Agence France-Presse, 25 February 2008
  89. "Sarkozy runs afoul of critics with rank reply", by Crispian Balmer, 26 February 2008 Reuters
  90. Le Monde
  91. Rue 89
  92. Le Monde
  93. "L'Etat Doit-Il Financer La Construction de Mosquees?"
  94. Worldwide Religious News, 2 September 2004
  95. News24.com; 28 July 2007; Sarkozy's Africa vision under fire
  96. Chris McGreal;The Guardian (UK)27 August 2007 Mbeki criticised for praising 'racist' Sarkozy
  97. Michel Agier, l'Afrique en France après le discours de Dakar, Vacarme n°42
  98. Achille Mbembe; Mail and Guardian (South Africa); 27 August 2007; Sacré bleu! Mbeki and Sarkozy?
  99. Queen hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla
  100. Real Decreto 21/2004, de 9 de enero, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Real y Distinguida Orden Española de Carlos III al señor Nicolas Sarkozy, Ministro del Interior de la República Francesa.


Further reading

  • , interviews with Michel Denisot.
  • , Grand livre du mois 1995.
  • , subject(s): Pratiques politiques—France—1990–, France—Politique et gouvernement—1997–2002.
  • , series: Les dossiers du "Canard enchaîné" 89.
  • Alvarez-Montalvo, Marta (9 July 2004). "¿Quién teme a Nicolas Sarkozy? El ministro de economía francés se postula como próximo candidato a las presidenciales de 2007.", in Epoca ([Madrid] : Difusora de Informacion Periodica S.A., DINPESA, 9 July 2004), number 1012, p. 46(2), 3 pages, 829 words, available online [60987].
  • , subject(s): Sarkozy, Nicolas (1955–) — Caricatures et dessins humoristiques.
  • , Grand Livre du mois 2004, subject(s): Chirac, Jacques (1932–), Sarkozy, Nicolas (1955–), France—Politique et gouvernement—1995–.
  • , subject(s): Laïcité—France—1990–, Islam—France—1990–.
  • René Dosière, 'L'argent caché de l'Élysée', Seuil, 2007


External links

Official websites



Press



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