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Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy

Overview
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current
Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement , was elected President in May 2007, and became the sixth President of the French Fifth Republic on May 16, 2007. He nominated François Fillon as Prime minister, who formed a composite government, a bit modified following...

 President of the French Republic
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

 and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 candidate Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 10 days earlier.

Before his presidency, he was leader of the Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 (UMP).
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Quotations

To be a young Gaullist is to be a revolutionary!

National meeting of UDR in Nice, June 1975

We live in a world where people don't all have the same scruples, where all blows can be given, and where, in order to down somebody, all means can be used. Nothing will lead me astray from the path that I have chosen.

Le Monde, 2005

I understand that people might be poor if they don't have any work, but I don't accept that someone is poor if they've worked really hard.

Interview with Charlie Rose, televised 31 January 2007

If you come to France and you wear a veil, if you go to one of the administrative buildings, then that's not acceptable. If you don't want your wife to be examined by a male doctor, then you're not welcome here. France is a country that's open.

Interview with Charlie Rose, televised 31 January 2007

If living in France bothers some people, they should feel free to leave the country.

UMP meeting 22 April

Canadians are friends and Quebecers are my family.

What France knows deep down is that within this great Canadian people, there is a Quebec nation.

Encyclopedia
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current
Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement , was elected President in May 2007, and became the sixth President of the French Fifth Republic on May 16, 2007. He nominated François Fillon as Prime minister, who formed a composite government, a bit modified following...

 President of the French Republic
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

 and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 candidate Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 10 days earlier.

Before his presidency, he was leader of the Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 (UMP). Under Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

's presidency he served as Minister of the Interior
Minister of the Interior (France)
The Minister of the Interior in France is one of the most important governmental cabinet positions, responsible for the following:* The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes...

 in Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin is a French conservative politician and senator for Vienne.Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from 6 May 2002 to 31 May 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after Raffarin...

's (UMP) first two governments (from May 2002 to March 2004), then was appointed Minister of Finances in Raffarin's last government (March 2004 to May 2005) and again Minister of the Interior in Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

's government (2005–2007).

Sarkozy was also president of the General council of the Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

 department from 2004 to 2007 and mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

, one of the wealthiest communes of France
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 from 1983 to 2002. He was Minister of the Budget in the government of Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995.-Biography:Balladur was born in İzmir, Turkey, to an Armenian Catholic family with five children and long-standing ties to France...

 (RPR
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

, predecessor of the UMP) during François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

's last term.

Sarkozy is known for wanting to revitalize the economy of France
Economy of France
France is the world's fifth largest economy by nominal figures and the ninth largest economy by PPP figures. It is the second largest economy in Europe in nominal figures and third largest economy in Europe in PPP figures...

.
In foreign affairs he has promised a strengthening of the entente cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

 with the United Kingdom and closer cooperation with the United States. He married singer-songwriter Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is an Italian-French songwriter, singer, actress, and former model...

 on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palace
Élysée Palace
The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the President of the French Republic, containing his office, and is where the Council of Ministers meets. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris....

 in Paris. The couple have a daughter.

Family background



Sarkozy is a Frenchman of mixed national and ethnic ancestry and is the first president of France to be a mixed heritage. He is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa ( nɒɟ͡ʝboːt͡ʃɒi ʃaːrkøzi paːl; in some sources Nagy-Bócsay Sárközy Pál István Ernő), a Hungarian aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

, and Andrée Jeanne "Dadu" Mallah (b. Paris, 12 October 1925), who is of French and Greek Jewish origin. They were married at Saint-François-de-Sales
Saint-François-de-Sales
Saint-François-de-Sales is a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.-References:*...

, Paris XVII, on 8 February 1950 and divorced in 1959.

Early life


During Sarkozy's childhood, his father allegedly 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 Arrondissement of Paris. The family later moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

, one of the wealthiest communes of the Île-de-France
Île-de-France (région)
Île-de-France is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-two administrative regions of France, composed mostly of the Paris metropolitan area....

 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 and taller 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 well regarded public middle and high school in Paris's 8th arrondissement, 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
Baccalauréat
The baccalauréat , often known in France colloquially as le bac, is an academic qualification which French and international students take at the end of the lycée . It was introduced by Napoleon I in 1808. It is the main diploma required to pursue university studies...

in 1973. He enrolled at the Université Paris X Nanterre
University of Paris X: Nanterre
Paris West University Nanterre La Défense formerly called Paris X Nanterre is a French university in the Academy of Versailles. It is one of the 13 successor universities of the University of Paris. It is located in the western suburb of Nanterre, near La Défense, the business district of Paris...

, where he graduated with an MA in Private law
Private law
Private law is that part of a civil law legal system which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as the law of contracts or torts, as it is called in the common law, and the law of obligations as it is called in civilian legal systems...

, and later with a DEA
DEA (former French degree)
A Master of Advanced Studies is a non-consecutive postgraduate degree awarded predominantly in European countries. A MAS program offers comprehensive training in a specific field and can either give access to higher qualification in one's profession or lead to a new profession...

 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 Paris, better known as Sciences Po, (1979–1981) but failed to graduate due to an insufficient command of the English language. After passing the bar
Bar (law)
Bar in a legal context has three possible meanings: the division of a courtroom between its working and public areas; the process of qualifying to practice law; and the legal profession.-Courtroom division:...

, he became a lawyer specializing in business and family law
Family law
Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations including:*the nature of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships;...

, and was one of Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

's top French advocates.

Marie-Dominique Culioli


Sarkozy married his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, on 23 September 1982; her father was a pharmacist
Pharmacist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

 from Vico
Vico, Corse-du-Sud
Vico is a commune in the Corse-du-Sud department of France on the island of Corsica.-Population:-References:*...

 (a village north of Ajaccio
Ajaccio
Ajaccio , is a commune on the island of Corsica in France. It is the capital and largest city of the region of Corsica and the prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud....

, Corsica). They had two sons, Pierre (born in 1985), now a hip-hop producer, and Jean
Jean Sarkozy
Jean Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa is the son of the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy from his first marriage, to Marie-Dominique Culioli. Jean is a regional councillor in the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and registered as a 1st year Law student at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University in 2007...

 (born in 1986) now a local politician in the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine where Sarkozy started his own political career. Sarkozy's best man was the prominent right-wing politician Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua is a French businessman and Gaullist politician. He was Interior Minister from 1986 to 1988, under Jacques Chirac's cohabitation government, and also from 1993 to 1995, under the government of Edouard Balladur...

, later to become a political opponent. Sarkozy divorced Culioli in 1996, after they had been separated for several years.

Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz


As mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

, Sarkozy met former fashion model and public relations executive Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (great-granddaughter of composer Isaac Albéniz
Isaac Albéniz
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual was a Spanish Catalan pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on folk music idioms .-Life:Born in Camprodon, province of Girona, to Ángel Albéniz and his wife Dolors Pascual, Albéniz...

 and daughter of a Moldovan father), when he officiated at her wedding to television host Jacques Martin
Jacques Martin (TV host)
Jacques Martin was a French TV host and producer.Martin was born in Lyon, Rhône. In the late 1960s he formed a comical duet of hosts on radio Europe 1 with French actor Jean Yanne....

. In 1988, she left her husband for Sarkozy, and divorced Martin one year later. Sarkozy married her in October 1996, with witnesses Martin Bouygues
Martin Bouygues
Martin Bouygues, born 1952,is chairman and chief executive officer of the French company Bouygues; founded by his father Francis in 1952. In 2006 he was listed at the worlds 214th richest person, and a billionaire....

 and Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault is a French business magnate who is best known as the chairman and CEO of the French conglomerate LVMH. According to Forbes Magazine, Arnault is the world's 4th and Europe's richest person, with a 2011 net worth of US$41 billion.-Education and business career:Arnault was born...

 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 Swiss newspaper Le Matin revealed that she had left Sarkozy for French-Moroccan national Richard Attias
Richard Attias
Richard Attias is a Moroccan global events producer, former chairman of PublicisLive and presently the Executive Chairman of the Experience Corporation...

, head of Publicis
Publicis
Publicis Groupe is a French multinational advertising and communications company, headquartered in Paris, France. It is one of the world's three largest advertising holding companies . Its current president is Maurice Lévy. Publicis Groupe S.A...

 in New York. There were other accusations of a private nature in Le Matin, which led to Sarkozy suing
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 the paper. In the meantime, he was said to have had an affair with a journalist of Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

, Anne Fulda
Anne Fulda
Anne Fulda is a French journalist of Jewish origin , working for Le Figaro in the politics department since 1992. She is a specialist of French politics and in particular of French right. She wrote a book about Jacques Chirac in 1997. She was allegedly the mistress of the current French President...

.

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

Carla Bruni



Less than a month after separating from Cécilia, Sarkozy met Italian-born singer Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is an Italian-French songwriter, singer, actress, and former model...

 at a dinner party, and soon entered a relationship with her. They married on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palace
Élysée Palace
The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the President of the French Republic, containing his office, and is where the Council of Ministers meets. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris....

 in Paris.

The couple has a daughter, Giulia, born on 19 October 2011. It is the first time a French president has had a child while in office.

Personal wealth


Sarkozy declared to the Constitutional Council a net worth
Net worth
In business, net worth is the total assets minus total outside liabilities of an individual or a company. For a company, this is called shareholders' preference and may be referred to as book value. Net worth is stated as at a particular year in time...

 of €2 million, most of the assets being in the form of life insurance
Life insurance
Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money upon the death of the insured person. Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness may also trigger...

 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
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

. He also receives a yearly council pension as a former member of the council of the Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine
Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

 department.

Member of National Assembly


Sarkozy is recognised by both the right and left's French parties as a skilled politician and striking orator. His supporters within France emphasize his charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

, political innovation and willingness to "make a dramatic break" amid mounting disaffection against "politics as usual". Overall, he is considered more pro-United States and pro-Israeli than most French politicians.

Since November 2004, Sarkozy has been president of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 (UMP), France's major right-wing political party, and he was Minister of the Interior
Minister of the Interior (France)
The Minister of the Interior in France is one of the most important governmental cabinet positions, responsible for the following:* The general interior security of the country, with respect to criminal acts or natural catastrophes...

 in the government of Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

, with the honorific title of Minister of State
Minister of State
Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a "minister of state" is a junior minister, who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister...

, making him effectively the number three official in the French State after President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 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
Minister of Worship (France)
The Minister of Worship is a cabinet member in the Government of France responsible for overseeing the French government's relationship with religions...

 (in this role he created the CFCM
French Council of the Muslim Faith
The French Council of the Muslim Faith , is a national elected body, to serve as an official interlocutor with the French state in the regulation of Muslim religious activities. It is a non-profit group created on 28 May 2003, consisting of 25 CRCMs...

, French Council of Muslim Faith). Previously, he was a deputy to the French National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

. He was forced to resign this position in order to accept his ministerial appointment. He previously also held several ministerial posts, including Finance Minister
Finance minister
The finance minister is a cabinet position in a government.A minister of finance has many different jobs in a government. He or she helps form the government budget, stimulate the economy, and control finances...

.

In government


Sarkozy's political career began when he was 23, when he became a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

. 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
Achille Peretti
Achille Peretti , was a French politician.Peretti was born in Ajaccio. A lawyer by profession, he was a member of the French resistance, and was in charge of security of Charles de Gaulle's government in Algiers....

. Sarkozy had been close to Peretti, as his mother was Peretti's secretary. The senior RPR politician at the time, Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua
Charles Pasqua is a French businessman and Gaullist politician. He was Interior Minister from 1986 to 1988, under Jacques Chirac's cohabitation government, and also from 1993 to 1995, under the government of Edouard Balladur...

, 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
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

.

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
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

 in Neuilly
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

. The "Human Bomb" was killed after two days of talks by policemen
French National Police
The National Police , formerly the Sûreté Nationale, is one of two national police forces and the main civil law enforcement agency of France, with primary jurisdiction in cities and large towns. The other main agency is the military Gendarmerie, with primary jurisdiction in smaller towns and rural...

 of the RAID
Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion
Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion or RAID is, like the GIPN, a Special Operations tactical unit of the National Police with more manpower and equipment...

, 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
Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995.-Biography:Balladur was born in İzmir, Turkey, to an Armenian Catholic family with five children and long-standing ties to France...

. Throughout most of his early career, Sarkozy had been seen as a protégé of Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

. 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
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

, the French yearly budget deficit may not exceed three percent of France's GDP.

In 1995, he spurned Chirac and backed Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur
Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995.-Biography:Balladur was born in İzmir, Turkey, to an Armenian Catholic family with five children and long-standing ties to France...

 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
French legislative election, 1997
French legislative election took place on 25 May and 1 June 1997 to elect the 11th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic. It was the consequence of President Jacques Chirac's decision to call the legislative election one year before the deadline....

, as the number two candidate of the RPR. When the party leader Philippe Séguin
Philippe Séguin
Philippe Séguin was a French political figure who was President of the National Assembly from 1993 to 1997 and President of the Cour des Comptes of France from 2004 to 2010....

 resigned, in 1999, he took the leadership of the Neo-Gaullist party. But it obtained its worst result at the 1999 European Parliament election
European Parliament election, 1999 (France)
On 13 June 1999 the fifth direct elections to the European Parliament were held in the France. Once again, abstention was very high for this type of election- only 47% of eligible voters voted...

, winning 12.7% of the votes, less than the dissident Rally for France of Charles Pasqua. Sarkozy lost the RPR leadership.

In 2002, however, after his re-election as President of the French Republic (see French presidential election, 2002
French presidential election, 2002
The 2002 French presidential election consisted of a first round election on 21 April 2002, and a runoff election between the top two candidates on 5 May 2002. This presidential contest attracted a greater than usual amount of international attention because of Le Pen's unexpected appearance in...

), Chirac appointed Sarkozy as French Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin is a French conservative politician and senator for Vienne.Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from 6 May 2002 to 31 May 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after 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 30 April 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
Alain Juppé
Alain Marie Juppé is a French politician currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as Prime Minister of France from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac and the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs from 2010 to 2011...

 became clear.

In party elections of 10 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
Brice Hortefeux
Brice Hortefeux is a French politician he was Minister of the Interior, Overseas Territories and Territorial collectivities...

, and Chirac loyalists, such as Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré is a conservative French political figure. He was President of the National Assembly of France from 2002 to 2007 and has been President of the Constitutional Council since 2007.-Biography:Debré was born in Toulouse...

.

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
France Info
France Info is a major French public news radio station, part of the Radio France group. The station is available across the country broadcasting world news 24 hours...

reported a rumour that Sarkozy was to be reappointed Minister of the Interior in the government of Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

 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
Islam in France
Islam is the second most widely practiced religion in France by number of worshippers, with an estimated total of 5 to 10 percent of the national population.-Statistics:...

. 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
The French Council of the Muslim Faith , is a national elected body, to serve as an official interlocutor with the French state in the regulation of Muslim religious activities. It is a non-profit group created on 28 May 2003, consisting of 25 CRCMs...

 ("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
1905 French law on the separation of Church and State
The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1905. Enacted during the Third Republic, it established state secularism in France...

, 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 Finance, 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
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

.
  • In September 2004, Sarkozy oversaw the reduction of the government ownership stake in France Télécom
    France Télécom
    France Telecom S.A. is the main telecommunications company in France, the third-largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It currently employs about 180,000 people and has 192.7 million customers worldwide . In 2010 the group had revenue of €45.5 billion...

     from 50.4 percent to 41 percent.
  • Sarkozy backed a partial nationalisation of the engineering company Alstom
    Alstom
    Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

     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
    Solidarity tax on wealth
    The solidarity tax on wealth is an annual direct wealth tax on those in France having assets in excess of €800,000, . It was one of the Socialist Party's 1981 electoral program's measures, 110 Propositions for France...

    ). 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
    Alain Madelin
    Alain Madelin is a French politician and a former minister of that country.Madelin, a strong supporter of laissez-faire economics, was a candidate in the 2002 French presidential election as the leader of the Démocratie Libérale party, where he scored 3.91% on the first round...

    , 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.

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
2005 civil unrest in France
The 2005 civil unrest in France of October and November was a series of riots by mostly Muslim North African youths in Paris and other French cities, involving mainly the burning of cars and public buildings at night starting on 27 October 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois...

 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
Argenteuil
Argenteuil is a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. Argenteuil is a sub-prefecture of the Val-d'Oise department, the seat of the arrondissement of Argenteuil....

 near Paris, and controversially suggested cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 the minority suburbs with a Kärcher
Kärcher
Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of cleaning systems and equipment, known for its high-pressure cleaners.- History :The inventor Alfred Kärcher from Baden-Württemberg founded the company in 1935. Initially Kärcher specialised in the design of industrial submersible heating...

. 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
Azouz Begag
Azouz Begag, is a French writer, politician and researcher in economics and sociology at the CNRS. He was the delegate minister for equal opportunities of France in the government of French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin till 5 April 2007...

.

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
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

, 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
French referendum on the European Constitution
The French referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was held on 29 May 2005 to decide whether France should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union...

, 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
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

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
    Tax code
    In the UK, every person paid under the PAYE scheme is allocated a tax code by HM Revenue and Customs. This is usually in the form of a number followed by a letter suffix, though other 'non-standard' codes are also used. This code describes to employers how much tax to deduct from an employee. The...

    , 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
    Unemployment
    Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

     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
    Credit (finance)
    Credit is the trust which allows one party to provide resources to another party where that second party does not reimburse the first party immediately , but instead arranges either to repay or return those resources at a later date. The resources provided may be financial Credit is the trust...

     for some time.


Such policies are what are called in France libéral (that is, in favour of laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 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 quota
Quota
-Commerce:* Import quota, a type of trade restriction* Production quota* Sales quota, a minimum sales goal for a set time span* Tariff-rate quota, a type of trade restriction-Electoral systems:* Droop quota* Election threshold* Hagenbach-Bischoff quota...

s 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
DADVSI
DADVSI is the abbreviation of the French Loi sur le Droit d’Auteur et les Droits Voisins dans la Société de l’Information...

, which reforms French copyright law
French copyright law
The droit d'auteur developed in the 18th century at the same time as copyright developed in the United Kingdom. Based on the "right of the author" instead of on "copyright", its philosophy and terminology are different from those used in copyright law in common law jurisdictions...

. 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
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

 systems.

Presidential campaign


Sarkozy was a likely candidate for the presidency in 2007; in an often-repeated comment made on television channel France 2
France 2
France 2 is a French public national television channel. It is part of the state-owned France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 4, France 5 and France Ô...

, 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
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 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 TF1
TF1
TF1 is a national French TV channel, controlled by TF1 Group, whose major share-holder is Bouygues. TF1's average market share of 24% makes it the most popular domestic network...

 where he expressed his support for affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 and the freedom to work overtime. Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, he advocated civil unions and the possibility for same-sex partners to inherit under the same regime as married couples. The law was voted in July 2007.

On 7 February, Sarkozy decided in favour of a projected second, non-nuclear
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

, aircraft carrier
Future French aircraft carrier
PA2 is a planned new aircraft carrier developed for the French Navy by Thales Naval France and DCNS from the Thales UK/BMT design for the future British Queen Elizabeth class....

 for the national Navy (adding to the nuclear Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle (R 91)
Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and the largest Western European aircraft carrier. She is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the first and so far only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy...

), during an official visit in Toulon
Toulon
Toulon is a town in southern France and a large military harbor on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence....

 with Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie
Michèle Alliot-Marie
Michèle Jeanne Honorine Alliot-Marie, born 10 September 1946 and nicknamed MAM, is a French politician of the Union for a Popular Movement . A member of all but one right-wing governments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, she was the first woman in France to hold the portfolios of Defense , the...

. "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 hard-line 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
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 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
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

 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.
  • Co-Prince of Andorra: Since 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).


Electoral mandates

European Parliament
  • Member of the European Parliament : July–September 1999 (Resignation). Elected in 1999.


National Assembly of France
  • Member of the National Assembly of France for Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

     (6th constituency) : 1988–1993 (became minister in 1993) / 1995–2002 (became minister in 2002) / March–June 2005 (became minister in June 2005). Elected in 1988, reelected in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2005.


Regional Council
  • Regional councillor of Île-de-France
    Île-de-France (région)
    Île-de-France is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-two administrative regions of France, composed mostly of the Paris metropolitan area....

     : 1983–1988 (Resignation). Elected in 1986.


General Council
  • President of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

     : 2004–2007 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007).
  • Vice-president of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

     : 1986–1988 (Resignation).
  • General councillor of Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine
    Hauts-de-Seine is designated number 92 of the 101 départements in France. It is part of the Île-de-France region, and covers the western inner suburbs of Paris...

     : 1985–1988 / 2004–2007 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007).


Municipal Council
  • Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

     : 1983–2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1989, 1995, and 2001.
  • Deputy-mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

     : 2002–2007 (Resignation).
  • Municipal councillor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine
    Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

     : 1977–2007 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1989, 1995, and 2001.


Political functions
  • President of the Union for a Popular Movement
    Union for a Popular Movement
    The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

     : 2004–2007 (resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007). Elected in 2004.
  • President of the Rally for the Republic
    Rally for the Republic
    The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

     : April–October 1999.
  • General secretary of the Rally for the Republic
    Rally for the Republic
    The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

     : 1998–1999.
  • Deputy general secretary of the Rally for the Republic
    Rally for the Republic
    The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

     : 1992–1993.

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 Palace
Élysée Palace
The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the President of the French Republic, containing his office, and is where the Council of Ministers meets. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris....

, where he was given the authorization codes of the French nuclear arsenal
Force de frappe
The Force de Frappe is the designation of what used to be a triad of air-, sea- and land-based nuclear weapons intended for dissuasion, and consequential deterrence...

. In the afternoon, the new President flew to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

.

Under Sarkozy's government, François Fillon
François Fillon
François Charles Armand Fillon is the Prime Minister of France. He was appointed to that office by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 17 May 2007. He served initially until 13 November 2010 when he resigned from being prime minister before a planned cabinet reshuffle.On 14 November 2010, Sarkozy...

 replaced Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

 as Prime Minister. Sarkozy appointed Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde...

, the left-wing founder of Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins Sans Frontières
' , or Doctors Without Borders, is a secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland...

, as his foreign minister, leading to Kouchner's expulsion from the Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

. In addition to Kouchner, three more Sarkozy ministers are from the left, including Eric Besson
Éric Besson
Éric Besson is a French politician and Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital economy under the Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, Christine Lagarde...

, who served as Ségolène Royal
Ségolène Royal
Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

'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
Rachida Dati
Rachida Dati is a French politician and Member of the European Parliament, representing Île-de-France. Before her election, she held the cabinet post of Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice. She was a spokesperson for Nicolas Sarkozy during the French presidential election of 2007...

, is the first woman of Northern African origin to serve in a French cabinet. Of the 15, two attended the elite École nationale d'administration
École nationale d'administration
The École Nationale d'Administration , one of the most prestigious of French graduate schools , was created in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to democratise access to the senior civil service. It is now entrusted with the selection and initial training of senior French officials...

 (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
Brice Hortefeux
Brice Hortefeux is a French politician he was Minister of the Interior, Overseas Territories and Territorial collectivities...

—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 Colombian president Álvaro Uribe
Álvaro Uribe
Alvaro Uribe Vélez was the 58th President of Colombia, from 2002 to 2010. In August 2010 he was appointed Vice-chairman of the UN panel investigating the Gaza flotilla raid....

 and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group, especially Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt
Íngrid Betancourt
Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio is a Colombian politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist.Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on 23 February 2002 and was rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later on 2 July 2008...

. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC's "chancellor" Rodrigo Granda
Rodrigo Granda
Ricardo González also known as Rodrigo Granda is a Colombian Venezuelan member of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia . He serves as international spokesman of the guerrilla organization.-Arrest in Venezuela:...

. Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya
HIV trial in Libya
The HIV trial in Libya concerns the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV in 1998, causing an epidemic at El-Fatih Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya.The defendants were a Palestinian...

 to their country. In exchange, he signed with Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 security, health care and immigration pacts—and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILAN
MILAN
MILAN " is French and German for "kite bird") is a European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962. It was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire guided SACLOS missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the...

 antitank missile sale. The contract was the first made by Libya since 2004, and was negotiated with MBDA
MBDA
MBDA is a missile developer and manufacturer with operations in France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and the United States. It was formed by a merger of Aérospatiale-Matra Missiles , Finmeccanica and Matra BAe Dynamics in December 2001. In 2003 the company had 10,000 employees...

, a subsidiary of EADS
EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

. Another 128 millions euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system
Terrestrial Trunked Radio
Terrestrial Trunked Radio is a professional mobile radio and two-way transceiver specification...

. The Socialist Party
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 (PS) and the Communist Party (PCF) criticised a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state
Rogue state
Rogue state is a controversial term applied by some international theorists to states they consider threatening to the world's peace. This means meeting certain criteria, such as being ruled by authoritarian regimes that severely restrict human rights, sponsor terrorism, and seek to proliferate...

". The leader of the PS, François Hollande
François Hollande
François Gérard Georges Hollande is a French politician. From 1997 to 2008, he was the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party. He has also served as a Deputy of the National Assembly of France, representing the first constituency of Corrèze, since 1997. He previously represented that seat...

, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation.

On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit
33rd G8 summit
The 33rd G8 summit took place at Kempinski Grand Hotel in Heiligendamm in the old Duchy of Mecklenburg in the Northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the Baltic Coast. The group of eight leaders met together from 6 June to 8 June 2007...

 in Heiligendamm
Heiligendamm
Heiligendamm is a German seaside resort, founded in 1793. The small cluster of structures which still survive are reminders of the glory days of days gone by when this part of the Baltic Sea was one of the playgrounds of Europe's aristocracy. It is the oldest seaside spa in Germany...

, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 in order to prevent global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. He then pushed forward Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn , often referred to in the media, and by himself, as DSK, is a French economist, lawyer, politician, and member of the French Socialist Party...

 as European nominee to the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (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.

In 2010, a study of :Yale and Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 universities ranked France the most respectful country of the G20 concerning the environment.

The Union for a Popular Movement
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 (UMP), Sarkozy's party, won a majority at the June 2007 legislative election
French legislative election, 2007
The French legislative elections took place on 10 June and 17 June 2007 to elect the 13th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic, a few weeks after the French presidential election run-off on 6 May. 7,639 candidates stood for 577 seats, including France's overseas possessions...

, 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
Inheritance tax
An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate of a person who has died...

. 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
Supply-side economics
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic thought that argues that economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers for people to produce goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing...

, but did not reduce state expenditures. He was criticised by the European Commission for doing so.

Sarkozy broke with the custom of amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

ing traffic tickets and of releasing thousands of prisoners from overcrowded jails on Bastille Day
Bastille Day
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July of each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly le quatorze juillet...

, a tradition that Napoleon had started in 1802 to commemorate the storming of the Bastille
Storming of the Bastille
The storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris on the morning of 14 July 1789. The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the centre of Paris. While the prison only contained seven inmates at the time of its storming, its fall was the flashpoint...

 during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

.

Sarkozy's government issued a decree
Decree
A decree is a rule of law issued by a head of state , according to certain procedures . It has the force of law...

 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
Schengen Information System
The Schengen Information System , is a governmental database used by European countries to maintain and distribute information on individuals and pieces of property of interest. The intended uses of this system are for national security, border control and law enforcement purposes...

 (SIS) as well as with a national database of wanted persons (FPR
FPR
FPR may refer to: Focal Point Review*False Positive Rate , measure of the specificity of a classifier.*Family Procedure Rules, a set of rules in English and Welsh family courts*Fatal Prodigy Resurrected, a Call of Duty 4 team...

). The Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL
CNIL
The Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés or CNIL is an independent French administrative authority whose mission is to ensure that data privacy law is applied to the collection, storage, and use of personal data. Its existence was established by French , concerning computers,...

) 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
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

 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
Dirigisme
Dirigisme is an economy in which the government exerts strong directive influence. While the term has occasionally been applied to centrally planned economies, where the state effectively controls both production and allocation of resources , it originally had neither of these meanings when...

is seen as an attempt to stem the growing popularity of revolutionary socialist leader Olivier Besancenot
Olivier Besancenot
Olivier Besancenot is a French far left political figure and trade unionist, and the founding main spokesperson of the New Anticapitalist Party from 2009 to 2011....

.

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
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 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 China. On 6 December 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy, current Chairman of the European Union, met the Dalai Lama in Poland and outraged China, which has announced that it would postpone the China-EU summit indefinitely. On 3 April 2009, at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, Sarkozy announced that France would offer asylum
Right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...

 to a former Guantanamo captive.
"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 on 22 September 2009.

On 27 February 2011, Sarkozy did for the 10th time of his presidency a government reshuffle.

On 29 June 2011, he did a 11th government reshuffle, after the resignation of Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is a French lawyer and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund since July 5, 2011...

, who was appointed at the head of the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

. Five new ministers were appointed.

He is a public supporter of the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism
Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism
The Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism , which was signed on 3 June 2008, was a declaration signed by prominent European politicians, former political prisoners and historians, including past signatories of Charter 77 such as Václav Havel, which called for condemnation of and...

 and the resulting Prague Process, and sent a public letter of support to its preceding conference.

Middle East


Sarkozy played some vital roles in Middle East affairs. On 5 January 2009, Sarkozy called for a ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip Conflict
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
The Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world, was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which...

. The plan, which was jointly proposed by Sarkozy and Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 envisions the continuation of the delivery of aid to Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 and talks with Israel on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 smuggles its rockets into Gaza through the Egyptian border. Welcoming the proposal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 called for a "ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security".

Public image


Sarkozy was named the 68th best-dressed person in the world by Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

, alongside David Beckham
David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE is an English footballer who plays midfield for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, having previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, and A.C...

 and Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

. However, Sarkozy has also been named as the third worst-dressed person in the world by GQ, a listing that has been disputed. Beside publicizing, at times, and at others, refusing to publicise his ex-wife Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz
Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz
Cécilia María Sara Isabel Attias was the second wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy until October 2007....

's image, Sarkozy takes care of his own personal image, sometimes to the point of censorship—such as in the Paris Match
Paris Match
Paris Match is a French weekly magazine. It covers major national and international news along with celebrity lifestyle features. It was founded in 1949 by the industrialist Jean Prouvost....

affair, when he allegedly forced its director to resign following an article on his ex-wife and her affair with Publicis
Publicis
Publicis Groupe is a French multinational advertising and communications company, headquartered in Paris, France. It is one of the world's three largest advertising holding companies . Its current president is Maurice Lévy. Publicis Groupe S.A...

 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
Image editing
Image editing encompasses the processes of altering images, whether they be digital photographs, traditional analog photographs, or illustrations. Traditional analog image editing is known as photo retouching, using tools such as an airbrush to modify photographs, or editing illustrations with any...

 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
Paparazzi
Paparazzi is an Italian term used to refer to photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people...

 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 165 centimetre). He has been noted as wearing substantially heeled shoes and standing on hidden platforms, while the French media have pointed out that Carla 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 trade union officials). The president's office called the accusation "completely absurd and grotesque", while the Socialist Party mocked his fastidious preparation.

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

La Conquête


The biopic La Conquête is a 2011 film that dramatizes Sarkozy's rise to power, with candid portrayals of Sarkozy himself, Chirac and Villepin, and that was shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

.

Controversies


Generally, Sarkozy is strongly disliked by the Left, and is also criticised by some on the Right, most vocally by supporters of Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 and Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

, such as Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré
Jean-Louis Debré is a conservative French political figure. He was President of the National Assembly of France from 2002 to 2007 and has been President of the Constitutional Council since 2007.-Biography:Debré was born in Toulouse...

.

The magazine Marianne
Marianne (magazine)
Marianne is a weekly Paris-based French news magazine created in 1997 by Jean-François Kahn with Maurice Szafran as editorialist. The main shareholder of the company is Robert Assaraf with 49.4% of the shares .-Overview:...

accused Sarkozy of changing opinion in an Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

 affair. The French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

's magazine L'Humanité
L'Humanité
L'Humanité , formerly the daily newspaper linked to the French Communist Party , was founded in 1904 by Jean Jaurès, a leader of the French Section of the Workers' International...

accused Sarkozy of being a populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

.
In 2004 Sarkozy co-authored a book, 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
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 values. He advocated reducing the separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

, arguing for the government subsidy
Subsidy
A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

 of mosques in order to encourage Islamic integration into French society. He opposes financing of religious institutions with funds from outside France. After meeting with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

, Sarkozy was criticised by some for meeting with a member of the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

, which is classified as a cult in France (see Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France). Sarkozy stated that "the roots of France are essentially Christian" at December 2007 speech in Rome. He called Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 "one of the greatest and most beautiful civilizations the world has known" at a speech in Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 in January 2008. Both comments drew criticism from Christians.

In the midst of a tense period and following the accidental death of an 11-year-old boy in the Paris suburb of La Courneuve
La Courneuve
La Courneuve is a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.-History:The history of La Courneuve begins as the rest of the region with the invasion of European tribes and the eventual conquering of the area by the Romans. During the Middle Ages,...

 in June 2005, Sarkozy quoted a local resident and vowed to clean the area out "with a Kärcher
Kärcher
Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of cleaning systems and equipment, known for its high-pressure cleaners.- History :The inventor Alfred Kärcher from Baden-Württemberg founded the company in 1935. Initially Kärcher specialised in the design of industrial submersible heating...

" (nettoyer la cité au Kärcher, referring to a well-known German brand of pressure-cleaning equipment), and two days before the 2005 Paris riots
2005 civil unrest in France
The 2005 civil unrest in France of October and November was a series of riots by mostly Muslim North African youths in Paris and other French cities, involving mainly the burning of cars and public buildings at night starting on 27 October 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois...

 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; the French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

's publication L'Humanité branded this language as inappropriate.

In September 2005 Sarkozy was accused of pushing for a hasty inquiry into an arson attack on a police station in Pau, of which the alleged perpetrators were acquitted
Acquittal
In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. This is so even where the prosecution is abandoned nolle prosequi...

 for lack of proof. On 22 June 2005 Sarkozy told law enforcement officials that he had questioned the Minister of Justice about the future of "the judge" who had freed a man on parole
Parole
Parole may have different meanings depending on the field and judiciary system. All of the meanings originated from the French parole . Following its use in late-resurrected Anglo-French chivalric practice, the term became associated with the release of prisoners based on prisoners giving their...

 who had later committed a murder.

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
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin is a French politician who served as the Prime Minister of France from 31 May 2005 to 17 May 2007....

 expressed France's opposition to the war. Talking at the French-American Foundation in Washington, D.C. 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 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 former foreign minister Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde...

 (excluded from the Socialist party after his inclusion in François Fillon
François Fillon
François Charles Armand Fillon is the Prime Minister of France. He was appointed to that office by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 17 May 2007. He served initially until 13 November 2010 when he resigned from being prime minister before a planned cabinet reshuffle.On 14 November 2010, Sarkozy...

's government) had been one of the few supporters in France of removal of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 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
Michel Onfray
Michel Onfray is a contemporary French philosopher who adheres to hedonism, atheism and anarchism...

 that he thinks disorders such as paedophilia and depression have a gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

tic as well as social basis, saying "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
Axel Kahn
Axel Kahn is a French scientist and geneticist. He is the brother of the journalist Jean-François Kahn. He was a member of the French National Consultative Ethics Committee from 1992 to 2004 and worked in gene therapy. He first entered the INSERM with a specialization in biochemistry...

. 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 27 July 2007, Sarkozy delivered a speech in Senegal, written by Henri Guaino, in which he made reference to "African peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s". The controversial remarks were widely condemned by Africans, who viewed them as racist. South African president Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is a South African politician who served two terms as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. He is also the brother of Moeletsi Mbeki...

 praised Sarkozy's speech, which raised criticism by some in the South African media.

On 23 February 2008, Sarkozy was filmed by a reporter for French newspaper Le Parisien
Le Parisien
Le Parisien is a French daily newspaper covering both international and national news, and local news of Paris and its suburbs. It was established as Le Parisien libéré by Émilien Amaury in 1944, and the name was changed to the current one in 1986...

having the following exchange while visiting the Paris International Agricultural Show
Paris International Agricultural Show
Paris International Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural exposition and fair, that takes place end of February or beginning of March at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, France...

:

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 Laval
Laval, Mayenne
Laval is a commune in the Mayenne department in north-western France.It lies on the threshold of Brittany and on the border between Normandy and Anjou. Its citizens are called Lavallois.-Geography:...

 came to an anti-Sarkozy demonstration with a sign bearing the words Casse-toi pov' con, the exact words Sarkozy had uttered. Eon was arrested for causing offence to the presidential function and the prosecutor, who in France indirectly reports to the president, requested a fine of 1000€. The court eventually imposed a symbolic 30€ suspended fine, which has generally been interpreted as a defeat for the prosecution side. This incident was widely reported on, in particular as Sarkozy, as president of the Republic, is immune from prosecution
Sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution....

, notably restricting Eon's rights to sue Sarkozy for defamation.

On 8 November 2009, Sarkozy posted on his Facebook page a picture supposedly showing him chipping away at the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 during its fall. However, the dates were inconsistent and the picture was proven to be fake – and later archived footage confirmed this. This news of forgery spread in France, and later evolved into a meme, "Sarkozy Was There", where Sarkozy is photoshopped into historical events.

On 5 July 2010, following its investigations on the Bettencourt affair
Bettencourt affair
The Bettencourt affair involves illegal payments by Liliane Bettencourt to members of the French government associated with Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.-History:...

, online newspaper Media Part ran an article in which Claire Thibout, an ex-accountant working for Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt is a French heiress, socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist. She is one of the principal shareholders of L'Oréal and, with a fortune estimated at US$23.5 billion, is one of the wealthiest people in the world.-Biography:...

, accused Nicolas Sarkozy and Eric Woerth
Éric Woerth
Éric Woerth is a French politician.-Life and career:Woerth was born in Creil, Oise. He studied at HEC School of Management and Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris...

 of receiving illegal campaign donations in 2007, in cash.

On 30 July 2010, Sarkozy suggested a new policy of security, and he proposed "stripping foreign-born French citizens who opted to acquire their nationality at their majority of their citizenship if they are convicted of threatening the life of a police officer or other serious crimes". This policy has been criticized for example by the US newspaper The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, by Sarkozy's political opponents, including the leader of the PS
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

, Martine Aubry
Martine Aubry
Martine Aubry is a French politician. She has been the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party since November 2008 and Mayor of Lille since March 2001...

, and by experts of French law, including the ex-member of the Constitutional Council of France
Constitutional Council of France
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958, and its duty is to ensure that the principles and rules of the constitution are upheld.Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed...

, Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter is a high-profile French criminal lawyer, university professor and politician mainly known for his struggle against the death penalty, the abolition of which he successfully sponsored in Parliament in 1981...

, who said that such action would be unconstitutional.

French honours

  • Legion of Honour
    • Grand Cross (2007 — automatic when taking office)
    • Knight (2004)
  • Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit (2007 — automatic when taking office)

Other countries

: Commander of the Order of Leopold: Grand Cross of Order of Stara Planina: Saint George's Victory Order: Proto-canon of the Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

 (2007 - the post is held ex officio by the French Head of State): Premio Mediterraneo: Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Order of the Golden Fleece
The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430, to celebrate his marriage to the Portuguese princess Infanta Isabella of Portugal, daughter of King John I of Portugal. It evolved as one of the most prestigious orders in Europe...

 (2011): Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (2004): Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

 (2008)

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, 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

Official websites

President of France Nicolas Sarkozy Construire Ensemble—Official web site of the presidential campaign Website of the UMP, Sarkozy's party Official personal website Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations during the General Debate of the 63rd Session, 23 September 2008. Nicolas Sarkozy addressed the Assembly both as President of France and as President of the European Union

Press


Related contents

Extended biography by CIDOB Foundation Sarkozy's opinion poll tracker Some of Sarkozy's quotations
  • Nicolas Sarkozy on the Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...


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