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经济学人:欧洲的阿喀琉斯之踵

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

华尔街见闻

via 经济学人:欧洲的阿喀琉斯之踵.

原文载于《经济学人》,本文略有删改。

欧洲又在危机中喘息了短短的几个月。尽管达成了1300亿欧元的第二轮希腊救助协议,尽管去年12月欧洲各国达成了新的财政协议,尽管央行通过LTRO释放了1万亿廉价贷款,噩梦还是回来了。令人沮丧的是,欧洲还没有准备好。

时日已无多。法国新任总统奥朗德一改萨科奇和默克尔的路线,将重点放在促进增长上。默克尔称必须坚持财政协议,但奥朗德需要在下个月的投票前向选民表示些什么。更大的威胁来自希腊的第二次选举,各党派正为组建新政府闹得不可开交。大多数希腊人再一次投票反对减薪、改革和救助。欧洲各国政府(尤其是德国)不得不面临一个重大抉择:要么接受希腊,要么狠下心来将其踢出欧元区。

人们普遍担心,希腊会在德法联盟解散的情况下无序退出欧元区。这对全球经济造成的破坏甚至会影响到奥巴马连任。所以,欧元区其他国家亟需降低希腊退出可能造成的冲击,尤其是对另外四个欧猪国家(葡萄牙、爱尔兰、西班牙和意大利)。

欧元区有许多棘手的事情要做。短期内,应该暂缓财政调整,增加投资,宽松货币政策以促进增长,建立更坚固的防火墙(这些德国都不喜欢);中期内,对僵化的市场和高福利国家进行结构性改革(这些南欧国家不喜欢),共担一定数额的债务,建立欧洲范围内的银行决策机制。这是一个宏大的计划,但考虑到前不久意大利、西班牙、希腊政府都陷入严重困境,ECB四处施以援手的态势,这在政治上是可行的。

现如今,很多人仍沉浸在幻想里。法国就是个明显的例子。奥朗德让法国人相信,只要向富人多征税,财政紧张就能够缓解,欧债危机的根源在于自由化、私有化和缺乏监管。短期内,奥朗德能够与默克尔达成妥协,比如要求在财政公约中加入支持增长的条款。德国努力拉动需求是一件好事。但奥朗德必须进行改革,因为他需要一个中长期的财政方案,而不是通过借钱来支持福利支出。而且,当邻居们都改革后,法国要么加入他们,要么坐等着失业率上涨和收入下降。

同样的故事在欧洲各处不断上演。意大利寄希望于一个技术型政府带领国家摆脱危机。蒙蒂确实极具天分,但上周地方选举中强烈的反对票说明,蒙蒂的政策并不受意大利人欢迎。德国人认为只有债务国经济复苏,才能真正解决欧债危机。但是,德国理应有更高的通胀水平,理应增加消费以带动疲弱的盟友。

事实上,欧元区要想生存,每个国家都应该正视其平时不愿意面对的东西。正如笑话中所说,欧元区需要法国人在经济上进行改革,德国人在消费上奢侈一点,意大利人政治上成熟一点。

最糟糕的依然是希腊。雅典人认为他们承受了痛苦,但北欧人却不守信用。希腊人确实受了不少苦,从2007年至2012年他们的经济萎缩了五分之一。希腊经济经历了严重的信贷和流动性危机,并将面临可怕的减薪和增税。即使一切正常,明年希腊的债务将占GDP的161%。无论下一届政府的组成如何,相信希腊能偿还欠款都是天大的笑话。

这意味着下了希腊应该继续留在欧元区?可能吧,但答案无法进一步确定。如果希腊违约并退出欧元区,其债务将减轻,希腊人将有望掌握自己的命运,重建竞争力。然而,离开欧元区不可避免的会带来混乱,所以欧元区其他国家更希望希腊留下。但需要说明的是,他们并不会不惜一切代价留住希腊。

如果希腊拒绝第二轮援助或在接受援助后戏剧性崩溃,那么它将不可避免的退出欧元区。默克尔和奥朗德可能只剩下一个月的准备时间,他们要做的还很多。

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Categories: EU Observation Tags: ,

The German motor

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Graphic detail

via The German motor.

The euro area is ever-more reliant on Germany

The European Commission released its latest GDP figures on May 15th. In a rare bit of good news, the data are better than expected for some countries, most notably Germany. That country’s economy surpassed expectations by managing to grow by 0.5% during the first three months of the year. As a whole, the euro area registered stagnant growth, and without Germany its economy would have declined by 0.2%. Germany accounts for about 28% of euro-area output, yet its contribution to euro-area growth has increased markedly since 2004. It was responsible for 65% of the region’s growth in output on average since 2007. Meanwhile the euro zone’s peripheral countries—Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain—have seen their contribution decline from a pre-crisis average of 45% to a drag of 10% since 2007.

Categories: EU Observation, Finance Tags: , ,

解决欧元区危机的最佳途径

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

作者:英国《金融时报》首席经济评论员 马丁•沃尔夫

法国和希腊的选举告诉我们,“紧缩计划疲劳症”已开始显现。这并不出人意料。对于许多国家而言,看上去不存在摆脱萧条、通缩和绝望的可信退出策略。如果欧元区这个货币联盟只是一个一般的固定汇率安排机制,那么它注定会瓦解,就像金本位和布雷顿森林体系(Bretton Woods system)分别于上世纪30年代和70年代瓦解那样。现在的问题是,欧元区是一个货币联盟的事实,除了延缓瓦解以外,能否发挥其他作用。推动欧元区实行必要变革的最后机会,落在了法国新当选总统弗朗索瓦•奥朗德(François Hollande)的肩上。奥朗德表示,他的使命就是为欧洲带来“增长和繁荣”。那么,他能否实现这一值得赞许的目标呢?

财政紧缩不会改善正在萎缩的经济体的状况。于是,紧缩只能导致更多的紧缩。国际货币基金组织(IMF)资料显示,从2008年至2013年的每一年,爱尔兰、意大利、西班牙和葡萄牙的总公共债务与国内生产总值(GDP)之比都将上升,而不是下降。希腊的该比率将会短暂下降,但原因仅仅是债务重组。

最触目惊心的数据是失业率(见图表)。15岁至25岁年轻人的失业率,希腊和西班牙是51%,葡萄牙和意大利是36%,爱尔兰则是30%。法国年轻人的就业状况好一些,但形势也很严峻,年轻人失业比例达到五分之一。我们能相信人们将会无限期忍受这种状况吗?不能。人们更有可能像在希腊和法国选举中一样,再次投出抗议票。尼古拉•萨科齐(Nicolas Sarkozy)成为一年多来被赶下台的第八位欧元区国家领导人。

欧元区经济前景很暗淡。IMF预测,今年希腊、意大利、葡萄牙和西班牙的经济将会出现实际收缩,而爱尔兰增长率仅为0.5%。即使乐观估计,前四个国家2013年的增长率也不过是接近于零。这在政治上是危险的。更极端政党的出现和背叛感的泛起,似乎是不可避免的。这在经济上也是危险的:现在有多少最富才华的青年才俊想要移民?

有些事情必须改变。但所有的路似乎都已被堵死。德国央行(Bundesbank)行长延斯•魏德曼(Jens Weidmann)为英国《金融时报》撰文表示,货币政策已经用到了极限——如果没有超过极限的话。制定财政协定的目的在于防止无度的财政政策。不管怎样,如果没有财政团结,面临不可持续性高利率的欧元区成员国将没有回旋余地,而这个货币联盟并未设立联盟财政部门。因此“结构性政策”势在必行,欧元区领导人称之为增长政策。但是,改革能够迅速使经济恢复增长的观点属于无稽之谈。中期来看,改革措施将推高失业率,加剧通缩,并加重实际债务负担。即便在上世纪80年代较为有利的环境中,玛格丽特•撒切尔(Margaret Thatcher)在英国推行的改革也花了十多年时间才显露大部分成效。

正如约瑟夫•约费(Josef Joffe)在英国《金融时报》上撰文所述,许多德国人相信,德国近来取得的相对成功源于格哈德•施罗德(Gerhard Schröder)时期推行的改革措施。这基本上也是无稽之谈。德国的经济增长是由出口驱动的。这部分得益于德国优异的工业基础。但其他国家毫无节制的信贷供应造就的经济繁荣,也令德国受益匪浅。现在,德国有无可能回馈这一恩惠?答案是,可能性几乎为零。

魏德曼文章中最重要的一个句子或许是:“欧元区的货币政策针对的是整个货币联盟;因此,德国大幅扩张的政策立场必须由其他的国家政策来配合。”简言之,如果你梦想德国将允许信贷推动的经济繁荣推高国内通胀水平,快醒醒吧。这和IMF的预测是一致的。危机爆发之前,欧元区的整体通胀率一直高于德国,这主要是因为西班牙和意大利的通胀率相对较高。从逻辑上讲,这种状况现在肯定会被逆转,但距离IMF的预测仍有很大差距(见图表)。IMF资料显示,欧洲央行(ECB)甚至将无法达到接近2%的通胀目标。

正如目前在伦敦政治经济学院(LSE)任教的保罗•德•格劳威(Paul De Grauwe)近来在一份研究报告中强调的那样,当前的调整进程是非对称性的:遭遇困境的国家通胀减缓;而状况较好的国家无通胀。这不是货币联盟的特点。这远远更像是一个帝国。

那么,奥朗德可能会如何做?首先,他将不得不忘记对国内的几乎所有承诺,这不仅因为这些承诺对法国毫无帮助,也是因为若不如此,德国领导人就不会认真地对待他。

然后,这位新总统必须与德国领导人严肃地讨论他们期望欧元区以何种方式结束危机。他应当对沃尔夫冈•朔伊布勒(Wolfgang Schäuble)近来呼吁提高德国人工资的明智观点予以热烈支持。接着,他应该指出,似乎只有五条途径可以结束危机。第一条、也是最佳途径,便是对危机爆发之前积累的失衡进行对称性调整,并辅以弱国的改革。第二条途径是盈余国家永久性地向赤字国家转移资源。第三条途径是欧元区痛苦地转型为外部盈余——可以说,这显然取决于德国。第四条途径是弱国进入半永久性的萧条。最后的途径是欧元区部分或完全解体。

唯一理智的选择是第一条途径。但欧元区目前并未走上第一条道路。紧缩政策必须与调整和结构性改革的实际步伐相匹配。

奥朗德变换视角、采取这种观点的可能性很小。但货币联盟曾是法国提出的计划。签署《马斯特里赫特条约》(Maastricht treaty)的是与奥朗德同属社会党的前总统弗朗索瓦•密特朗(François Mitterrand)。奥朗德的任务和目标必须是化敌对情绪为希望。他可能遭到失败。但在欧洲领导人当中,唯有他有进行尝试的意愿和能力。

译者/邢嵬

欧债危机的政治变数

中国农业银行战略规划部高级宏观分析师 袁江 为英国《金融时报》中文网撰稿

2012年是欧洲的大选年,选票政治在欧债危机中日益发酵并发挥主导作用。财政紧缩作为化解债务危机的核心举措,在小范围政治精英决策之后,不得不面对欧元区广大民众手中选票的考量。不幸的是,高举整肃财政纪律大旗的法国总统萨科奇并未获得多数法国民众的认可,成为继帕潘德里欧和贝卢斯科尼之后受欧债危机影响下台的又一位欧元区领导人。希腊也出现“政治地震”,自1974年希腊实行共和制以来,泛希腊社会主义运动和新民主党一直轮流主导政坛,但两党形成的执政联盟却在5月7日的议会大选中未获明显多数,凸显希腊民众对紧缩政策已忍无可忍的态度。

当下的欧洲政治变局提出了一系列非常有趣的问题:为什么符合经济逻辑的财政紧缩政策会遭到广大民众选票政治的否决?在欧元区现有的制度架构下,经济与社会政治因素到底存在怎样的互动关联?而上述关联又将多大程度上影响欧债危机的演进方向?笔者认为,虽然欧洲局势表现为不同经济主张在选票市场的竞争和博弈,但本质上却反映出欧元区经济、政治和社会系统架构之间的内在不稳定和动态调整过程。

假如从经济视角分析,财政紧缩无疑是应对欧元区债务危机的直接选择。截至2011年底,欧元区一般政府债务总额占GDP的比重已达到87.2%,其中德国和法国分别为81.2%和85.8%,而意大利和希腊则高达120.1%和165.3%。与此同时,欧元区公共财政赤字占GDP的比重为4.1%,其中德法分别为1%和5.2%,最高的则是爱尔兰,达13.1%。欧元区国家的财政指标多数均已超过《稳定与增长公约》的规定。过去几年,巨额债务在维持表面繁荣的同时却透支了欧元区的未来。如果未来高负债国家继续扩张债务,那么随着宏观经济形势恶化和欧元区内部经济发展不平衡加剧,欧元区最终可能走向解体。因此,以默克尔、萨科奇为代表的欧元区政治领导人高举财政紧缩大旗,通过整肃欧元区财政纪律,削减财政赤字规模等措施,坚定地“为欧元的稳定而战”。否则,在可预见的未来,统一货币和政治联盟带来的经济利益和政治荣耀将一去不复返。

但是,政治领导人的经济改革努力往往过于勇往直前而显后劲不足。早在上世纪中叶,伟大的社会经济学家卡尔•波兰尼在其著作《大转型》(The Great Transformation)一书中曾指出,经济“内嵌”于社会系统之中,任何意在摆脱社会束缚的市场力量终将受到社会系统的反向惩罚。这种被称为“双向运动”的经济社会互动机制与中国传统哲学“反者道之动”的理念有着异曲同工之妙。虽然波兰尼教授在书中讲述的只是工业革命时期市场原教旨主义的案例,但其经典而深刻的分析思路为我们从更宽阔的视野理解欧债危机提供了有益启示。

回顾上世纪的欧洲历史,我们可清晰地发现欧洲的财政政策早已超越经济范畴,深深内嵌于欧洲的社会发展进程之中。早在19世纪后期,德国铁血宰相俾斯麦就颁布了《疾病保险法》、《工伤保险法》和《养老、残废、死亡保险法》,形成了欧洲福利制度的雏形。1942年,贝弗里奇教授设计了一个主张建立包括社会各阶层的“全民性”国民保险制度,成为当代福利国家制度的蓝图。二战后,欧洲福利制度开始不断建设和完善。福利财政虽然给经济增长带来了巨大负担,但却是对资本主义自由竞争的制约和平稳,进而为维持欧洲社会长期稳定和共同繁荣做出了重要贡献。历史的看,高福利制度主导下的财政政策已发展成为欧洲民众社会生活不可分割的一部分。

欧债危机的爆发俨然打破了高福利制度与政治经济体系之间的均衡。政治家们为了捍卫欧元,开始着手紧缩财政、削减社会福利的经济改革。但是,正如波兰尼教授所说的,这种试图“脱嵌”并主导社会系统的经济力量必将带来社会系统的反向运动。而目前的欧元区正是到了社会启动反向调整的关键时点。在欧元区各国的高额债务中,一部分是应对金融危机的扩张性财政支出,另一部分则是欧洲长期维系高福利制度的社会保障开支,其在各国普遍占政府债务比重40%以上。当以“默科奇”为核心的欧元区政府积极推动财政紧缩以限制债务扩张之时,就直接引燃了欧洲社会内部矛盾爆发的导火索。一方面,政府支出的减少导致经济增速下滑和失业人数增加。2011年四季度欧元区经济增速仅为0.3%,而IMF甚至预测2012年会进一步下降至-0.3%。与此同时,3月份欧元区17国失业率为10.9%,再创历史新高,总失业人数达到1736.5万人。另一方面,财政紧缩计划直接指向社会保障体系,而广大民众由于长期享受高福利而对改革产生了“棘轮效应”,因此往往很难忍受失业和福利削减带来的双重冲击。

幸运的是,欧洲社会的反向运动无需通过暴力,只需通过手中的选票就能对经济政策的“脱嵌”努力进行调整和校正。新古典经济学的拥趸们可能会责怪欧洲民众缺乏全局意识:假如再忍受一段时间,财政紧缩就会带来债务规模下降和经济复苏的理想效果。但是,这部分经济学家可能永远也无法认识到,由于忽视了人性的本能,任何抛开社会系统的经济政策努力往往都会徒劳无功。这不是民众的素质问题,而是历史曲折演进的规律。另外,也无需诟病选票政治,虽然它使政治家在某一领域经济改革的努力付诸东流,但这种社会系统的自我减压又何尝不是避免更大灾难的有效方式?

展望未来,更多“奥朗德式”的政治明星或将走向欧洲政治舞台的中心。客观的说,并不是这些政治人物反紧缩、重民生的竞选纲领有着多大的正确性,而是其恰恰迎合了当下欧洲社会反向运动的需要。短期内,这些政治人物会修正原有债务危机解决路线图。例如,奥朗德就明确提出要修改法国与欧元区的“财政契约”,主张扩大政府财政支出规模,刺激经济增长,促进中下层民众就业。经济政策回归社会属性一定程度上缓解了社会矛盾。

从长期视角看,欧元区的财政扩张却必须依赖“金融抑制”才能实现。政府为了确保自身能以很低成本融资偿债,将会通过各种手段将成本转嫁到企业、家庭、消费者等其他经济主体,进而导致经济出现旷日持久的低增长,削弱债务危机化解的经济基础。以希腊等代表的部分高负债国家不排除就此退出欧元区,而欧洲经济也可能经历“失去的十年”。

最后来看,人类历史就是一部经济和社会“双向运动”的历史。欧债危机的化解不会一蹴而就,而是曲折前进的过程。欧洲的政治家们也不会轻易放弃欧元这一“大欧洲梦”的重要标志。在统一的光荣梦想、多元的政治主张、长期的经济衰退与懒惰的人类本性之间,欧洲广大民众需要经历一个反复体验和权衡的过程。唯有如此,欧洲的未来之路才会走得更加清晰而坚定。

(注:本文仅代表作者个人观点,与所在机构无关)

本文责任编辑 徐瑾 jin.xu@ftchinese.com

Categories: EU Observation, Finance Tags: ,

欧债危机与宪政选择

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

薛兆丰 新制度主义时代

via 欧债危机与宪政选择.

为了维持社会稳定,政府也经常推出各种暂时讨好民心的经济政策。这些政策有看得见的好处,如政绩、安抚、和谐和缓冲;但也有看不见的代价,那就是增长的税收或国债,盘根错节的既得利益网以及逐渐被侵蚀的自由。

《经济观察报》之“法律、管制与经济增长”专栏(26)

欧债危机与宪政选择

薛兆丰
2012年2月6日

欧洲多国陷入深重的债务危机,令全面运行仅仅10年的欧元体系面临挑战。有朋友慨叹道:“资本主义怎么了?市场经济失灵了,经济学恐怕要改写。”我的看法正相反:经济学恰恰得到了验证,市场规律恰恰显灵了,而西方国家有不少经济政策,恰恰是与资本主义精神背道而驰的。

据说弗里德曼(M. Friedman)曾经半开玩笑地说,经济学家只有好坏之分,而没有什么凯恩斯学派芝加哥学派、或奥地利学派之分。那究竟怎样才是好的、怎样才是坏的呢?弗里德曼认为,不相信世界上有免费午餐的,就是好经济学者。事实上,在几何曲线和数学方程重重混战的背后,经济学家之间的分歧,有时也就真是简单到“相信免费午餐与否”而已。

举一个例子。本专栏的前一期文章“宏观调控忽视微观基础”解释过,“失业”本来是劳动力搜索更高价值岗位的过程,但为了暂时掩盖事实,政府往往会采用所谓“货币政策”,通过超发货币来拔高当前的就业率;另一方面,“衰退”本来可能是生产要素配置错误而导致的结果,但为了拖延纠正错误的痛苦,政府也往往会采用所谓“财政政策”,通过增加政府支出来刺激本来不可能维持的生产和消费。

在西方民选社会,政客之所以热衷于“货币政策”和“财政政策”等调控政策,以回避或拖延真正的“岗位搜索”和“资源重配”过程,根本原因是这些政策能博取选民的欢心。当每一届政客都这么做的时候,一个国家积累的通货膨胀和财政赤字就会越来越高。天下没有免费午餐,所有这些权宜之计,都迟早要有人来承担代价。

然而,西方曾经有过大批经济学者,构建各种宏观经济模型,为“制造通货膨胀增加就业、刺激经济挽救衰退”等观念大声辩护。到上个世纪的六七十年代,这些观念达到全盛阶段,乃至当时还产生了“国家的债务究竟是不是负担(Is the national debt a burden?)”的争论。西方各国政府规模的急剧扩张,与这些观念的流行是密不可分的。

顶着舆论的风向,经济学者布坎南(J. Buchanan)和瓦格纳(R. Wagner),在1977年出版的《赤字中的民主——凯恩斯勋爵的政治遗产》(Democracy in Deficit)中指出:由于人力和资本的重新配置,会造成社会的阵痛和伤害,政客为了争取选票,倾向于选择避重就轻的经济政策。两位作者认为,政客们歪曲价格信号,回避实质变革,通过政府举债来笼络人心,从而使国家债务积重难返,形成现代社会中“民主诱发赤字”的经济规律。这一经济规律,在四十多年后的欧洲债务危机中得到了验证。

十多年前,许多经济学者不看好欧元的前景。他们的理由是:在欧元系统启动前,欧盟各国政府可以左右开弓,同时动用“货币政策”和“财政政策”来应付经济周期;但欧元启动后,“货币政策”由欧洲央行统管,欧盟各国政府的武功便被废了一半。这时,欧盟各国只能靠增加税收或增发国债度日,这便激化了财政赤字的隐患。现在,既然民主体制不能动,政客又必然要讨好选民,而国债又已是天文数字,那么对某些国家而言,除了离开欧盟并重新启动印钞机外,恐怕很难找到别的出路。

经济学揭示的是市场运行的规律。我们知道价格管制会造成资源耗散;我们知道罢工会扭曲劳动力的定价和岗位的配置,结果迫使企业家选择外包策略,从而提升了本地失业率;我们知道福利和补贴政策惩罚了生产者、鼓励了懒惰者并限制了外来的移民,从长远来说会削弱一国的可持续的生产力。古今中外,哪里长期奉行这些政策,哪里的经济就会步入困境。

要明确的是,欧美所奉行的经济体制和政策,尽管叫做“资本主义”,但已经融入了大量“干预主义”和“福利主义”的因素。所以,不管是论功行赏,还是兴师问罪,都不应该笼统地使用“资本主义”做标签,而应该具体分析,究竟是哪套制度、哪个安排、哪项政策、在哪些范围,导致了哪些后果。以我的理解,资本主义的本质是自由,但各国的民主化进程已经削弱了资本主义的自由程度。

自由和民主,不仅有区别,而且往往有冲突。简单地说,“自由”就是个人的人身、言论、劳动和产业得到法治保护,他们有权与他人缔结契约和进行贸易;而“民主”则是按多数原则,集体商议如何行使国家暴力,来干预人与人之间本来可以缔结的契约、本来可以进行的贸易以及本来可以保有的产业。

在普选制度下,政客热情兜售的经济政策,包括价格管制、贸易保护、移民劳动资格限制、以罢工为后盾的集体议价、提供廉价住房、增加贫困补贴等,均在不同程度上侵害了个人自由和市场经济。因此,一套成功的民主机制,不在于它如何能低成本地让成千上万的选民投出结果,而在于它如何能在事前严格限定投票和政府的行事范围。

中国没有实施西方标准的民主,但也面临相似的挑战。为了维持社会稳定,政府也经常推出各种暂时讨好民心的经济政策,包括价格管制、收入补贴、产业倾斜、贸易保护、户籍歧视、廉价住房等等。这些政策有看得见的好处,比如政绩、安抚、和谐和缓冲;但也有看不见的代价,那就是增长的税收或国债,盘根错节的既得利益网以及逐渐被侵蚀的自由。

欧债危机摆在那里,后果严重,根源是政客不得不讨好选民;经济规律也摆在那里,只要奉行错误的经济政策,就必定有人要为午餐付账;但眼前的制度选项并不清晰——我们只知道自由和民主并不重合,但我们仍需探索如何建立宪政(即恰如其分地限制政府的职能范围),才能让自由得到保护,让市场得到发展,并让意见得到表达。

François Hollande

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Hollande, a relative unknown outside of France, has consistently topped opinion polls [Reuters]

François Hollande

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia(April 2012)
Don’t speak French? Click here to read a machine-translated version of the French article.

François Hollande
President of the General Council of Corrèze
Incumbent
Assumed office
20 March 2008
Preceded by Jean-Pierre Dupont
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
In office
27 November 1997 – 27 November 2008
Preceded by Lionel Jospin
Succeeded by Martine Aubry
Mayor of Tulle
In office
17 March 2001 – 17 March 2008
Preceded by Raymond-Max Aubert
Succeeded by Bernard Combes
Deputy of the National Assembly
for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency
Incumbent
Assumed office
12 June 1997
Preceded by Raymond-Max Aubert
In office
12 June 1988 – 16 May 1993
Preceded by Proportional representation
Succeeded by Raymond-Max Aubert
Personal details
Born 12 August 1954 (age 57)
RouenFrance
Political party Socialist Party
Domestic partner Ségolène Royal (1973–2007)
Valérie Trierweiler (2007–present)
Children 4
Alma mater HEC Paris
ENA Strasbourg
Institute of Political Studies
“Hollande” redirects here. For the region known in French by that name, see Holland. For the country also sometimes known by that name, see Netherlands.

François Gérard Georges Hollande (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa ɔlɑ̃d]; born 12 August 1954) is a French politician who was the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008. He has also been a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency since 1997, and previously represented that seat from 1988 to 1993. He was the Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and has been the President of the General Council of Corrèze since 2008.

On 16 October 2011, Hollande was nominated to be the Socialist and Left Radical Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election. His main opponent is incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.[1]

Contents

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Early life and education

Hollande was born in RouenSeine-Maritime, the son of Nicole Tribert, a social worker, and Georges Hollande, an ear, nose, and throat doctor.[2][3] He studied at HEC ParisENA Strasbourg, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.[4] Immediately after graduating, he was employed to work as a councillor in the Court of Audit.

Early political career

After volunteering to work for François Mitterrand‘s ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the 1974 presidential election when he was a student, Hollande joined the Socialist Party five years later. He was quickly spotted by Jacques Attali, a senior adviser to Mitterrand, who arranged for Hollande to stand for election to the French National Assembly in 1981 in Corrèze against future President Jacques Chirac, who was then the Leader of the Rally for the Republic, a Neo-Gaullist party. Hollande lost to Chirac in the first round, although he would go on to become a Special Adviser to the newly-elected President Mitterrand, before serving as a staffer for Max Gallo, the government’s spokesman. After becoming a Municipal Councillor for Ussel in 1983, he contested Corrèze for a second time in 1988, this time being elected to the National Assembly. In 1989, he was also elected as the Mayor of Tulle. Hollande lost his bid for re-election to the National Assembly in the so-called “blue wave” of the 1993 election, described as such due to the amount of seats gained by the Right at the expense of the Socialist Party.

First Secretary of the Socialist Party

Hollande with Ségolène Royal at a rally for the 2007 elections

As the end of Mitterrand’s term in office approached, the Socialist Party was torn by a struggle of internal factions, each seeking to influence the direction of the party. Hollande pleaded for reconciliation and for the party to unite behind Jacques DelorsPresident of the European Commission but Delors renounced ambitions to run for presidency in 1995, leading to Lionel Jospin resuming his earlier position as the leader of the party, selecting Hollande to become the official party spokesman. Hollande went on to contest Corrèze once again in 1997, returning to the National Assembly. That same year, Jospin became the Prime Minister of France, and Hollande won the election to succeed him as First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, a position he would hold for eleven years. Because of the very strong position of the Socialist Party within the French Government during this time, Hollande’s position lead some to refer to him the “Vice Prime Minister”. Hollande would go on to be elected the Mayor of Tulle in 2001, an office he would hold for the next seven years.

The immediate resignation of Jospin from politics following his shock defeat by far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the 2002 presidential electionforced Hollande to become the public face of the party for the 2002 legislative election but, although he managed to limit defeats and was re-elected in his own constituency, the Socialists lost nationally. In order to prepare for the 2003 Party Congress in Dijon, he obtained the support of many notable personalities of the party and was re-elected First Secretary against opposition from left-wing factions. After the triumph of the Left in the 2004 regional elections, Hollande was cited as a potential presidential candidate, but the Socialists were divided on the European Constitution, and Hollande’s support for the ill-fated “yes” position in the French referendum on the European Constitution caused friction within the party. Although Hollande was re-elected as First Secretary at the Le Mans Congress in 2005, his authority over the party began to decline from this point onwards. Eventually his domestic partner, Ségolène Royal, was chosen to represent the Socialist Party in the2007 presidential election, where she would lose to Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande was widely blamed for the poor performances of the Socialist Party in the 2007 elections, and he announced that he would not seek another term as First Secretary. Hollande publicly declared his support for Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, although it was Martine Aubry who would go on to win the race to succeed him in 2008.

Following his resignation as First Secretary, Hollande was immediately elected to replace Jean-Pierre Dupont as the President of the General Council of Corrèze, a position he holds to this day.

Presidential campaign

François Hollande campaigning in 2012

Following his re-election as President of the General Council of Corrèze in March 2011, Hollande announced that he would be a candidate in the upcoming primary election to select the Socialist and Radical Left Party presidential nominee.[5] The primary marked the first time that both parties had held an open primary to select a joint nominee at the same time. He initially performed poorly in polls, trailing the front-runner, former Finance Minister and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, following Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on suspicion of sexual assault in New York City in May 2011, Hollande began to lead the opinion polls. His position as front-runner was established just as Strauss-Kahn declared that he would no longer be seeking the nomination. After a series of televised debates throughout September, Hollande topped the ballot in the first round held on 9 October with 39% of the vote, not gaining the 50% required to avoid a second ballot, which he would contest against Martine Aubry, who had come second with 30% of the vote. The second ballot took place on 16 October 2011, which Hollande won with 56% of the vote to Aubry’s 43%, after which Hollande was declared the official Socialist and Radical Left Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election.[6] After the primary results, he immediately gained the pledged support of the other contenders for the party’s nomination, including Aubry, Arnaud MontebourgManuel Valls and 2007 candidate Ségolène Royal.[7]

Hollande’s presidential campaign is being managed by Pierre Moscovici and Stéphane Le Foll, a Member of Parliament and Member of the European Parliament respectively.[8] Hollande launched his campaign officially with a rally and major speech at Le Bourget on 22 January 2012 in front of 25,000 people.[9][10] The main themes of his speech were equality and the regulation of finance, both of which he promised to make a key part of his campaign.[10]

On 26 January he outlined a full list of policies in a manifesto containing 60 propositions, including the separation of retail activities from riskier investment-banking businesses, raising taxes for big corporations, banks and the wealthy, creating 60,000 teaching jobs, bringing the official retirement age back down to 60 from 62, creating subsidised jobs in areas of high unemployment for the young, promoting more industry in France by creating a public investment bank, granting marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, and pulling French troops out of Afghanistan in 2012.[11][12] On 9 February, he detailed his policies specifically relating to education in a major speech in Orléans.[13]

On 15 February, incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would run for a second and final term, strongly criticising Hollande’s proposals and claiming that he would bring about “economic disaster within two days of taking office” if he won.[14] Opinion polls show a very tight race between the two men in the first round of voting, most polls show Hollande comfortably ahead of Sarkozy in a hypothetical second round run-off.[15]

Personal life

For over thirty years, his partner was fellow Socialist politician Ségolène Royal, with whom he has four children – Thomas (1984), Clémence (1985), Julien (1987) and Flora (1992). In June 2007, just a month after Royal’s defeat in the French presidential election of 2007, the couple announced that they were separating.[16]

A few months after his split from Ségolène Royal was announced, a French website published details of a relationship between Hollande and French journalist Valérie Trierweiler. This was controversial as some considered this to be a breach of France’s strict stance on politicians’ personal privacy. In November 2007, Valérie Trierweiler confirmed and openly discussed her relationship with Hollande in an interview with French weekly Télé 7 Jours.

Works

Hollande has had a large number of books and academic works published, including:

References

  1. ^ “Socialists choose Hollande to face Sarkozy in 2012”. FRANCE 24. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. ^ Willsher, Kim (16 October 2011). “French presidential election: Nicolas Sarkozy v François Hollande”The Guardian (London).
  3. ^ “EN IMAGES. François Hollande, une carrière au parti socialiste – Presidentielle 2012” (in French). leParisien.fr. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. ^ “HEC Paris – Grande Ecole – Foire aux questions” (in(French)). Hec.fr. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Albinet, Alain (31 March 2011). “L’appel de Tulle de François Hollande” (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  6. ^ Erlanger, Steven (7 September 2010). “French Unions in National Strike on Pensions”New York Times: p. A4. Retrieved 4 December 2010. “[Socialist party leader Martine] Aubry has presidential ambitions… Her rivals included the former leader of the party, François Hollande….”
  7. ^ Love, Brian (16 September 2011). “Hollande to run for presidency for French left”Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  8. ^ (French)Botella, Bruno. “François Hollande recrute deux préfets pour sa campagne”. acteurs publics. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  9. ^ Erlanger, Steven (January 22, 2012). “François Hollande, Challenging Sarkozy, Calls for Change”The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  10. a b Clavel, Geoffroy (January 22, 2012). “François Hollande, French Presidential Candidate, Says ‘Finance’ Is His Adversary”The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  11. ^ Erlanger, Steven (January 26, 2012). “Sarkozy’s Main Rival Offers Proposals for Lifting France’s Economy”.The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  12. ^ “Presidential program – François Hollande”. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  13. ^ Laubacher, Paul. “Éducation : François Hollande fait de l’école primaire une priorité” (in French). Le Nouvel Observateur. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  14. ^ “Politique : Sarkozy se voit à l’Élysée pour encore «sept ans et demi»”Le Figaro. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  15. ^ “4 March 2012 – Opinion Way” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  16. ^ Sciolino, Elaine (19 June 2007). “French Socialists’ First Couple Disclose a Parting of Ways”New York Times: p. A3. Retrieved 4 December 2010.

External links

Party political offices
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Categories: EU Observation Tags: , ,

France’s media as undecided as its voters

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Al Jazeera brings you up-to-the-minute reporting from France for the 2012 presidential elections. Ten candidates will be competing in the first round of voting on April 22, and the two finalists will face off in the second round on May 6. ( 20-Apr-2012 )
Media interest and scrutiny tends to increase once the minority candidates are knocked out of the contest [AFP]
With the first round of the French presidential election less than 24 hours away, there has seemingly yet to be any great wave of public excitement over any of the candidates or their policies.The French media, along with the general public, often unanimously agree that the “real election” comes during the second round, in which the top two runners fight it out for the key to the Elysee Palace.

Ten candidates will compete in Sunday’s first round – and if, as expected, none wins 50 per cent of the votes cast, there will be a second, run-off round

Economics [is] the main issue, not security. And all those anti-Muslim declarations haven’t really worked.”– Anne Gaelle, French journalist

In a country where all candidates are given equal coverage and where televised political advertisements are banned, the frontrunners have to share the media stage with their less popular candidates. Nevertheless, editorial analysis and judgement plays an important role in getting politicians’ message across.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has recently been trailing in the polls to his rival, the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy has been blamed for the country’s economic difficulties, and – for someone who was elected in 2007 for his personality and policies – he is now someone who appears to have lost his charm and popularity.

‘President-in-waiting’

Hollande, on the other hand, has been called “the president in waiting”. He is seen as an affable moderate, whose quiet manner and corporate tax-raising economic policy differ sharply from Sarkozy’s glamour and free market ideals.

The campaign of centrist François Bayrou – who in 2007 took nearly a fifth of the first round vote – has become somewhat marginalised, over-shadowed by the more extreme right and left wing candidates. He does, however,remain influential in terms of where his votes will go in round two.

The far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen has been polling at 15 per cent with her policies against the“tsunami” of illegal immigration, and the “Islamisation” of France, but she hasn’t managed to make as much of an impact as once predicted.

The far-left candidate Jean Luc Melenchon, who has attracted voters with radical ideas – such as a “citizens’ revolution” based on the ideals of the 1871 Paris Commune – is also polling at 15 per cent, in close competition with Le Pen for third place.

In the final stretch before Sunday’s vote, Sarkozy is under pressure, with most opinion polls showing him trailing behind Hollande, who is expected by many observers to beat the incumbent in the second round of polling on May 6.

In the 2007 election, Sarkozy was much more popular in the media, talked up as a potential “hope and change” for France, ushering the country into a new era.

But after five years as president, where he has presided over an economic lull, the media have become much more critical and sceptical of the man dubbed the “bling bling president”.

Nevertheless, Sarkozy has always found an ally in the right-leaning daily newspaper Le Figaro, which is an exception to the rule, firmly supporting the incumbent – calling a major campaign speech “rich, lyrical, and forward-looking” in an editorial comment.

Usual lines

Yet, even as the polls swing against him, Sarkozy told [Fr] Le Figaro that if Hollande were to win it would be “catastrophic” for the French economy – which has been the long-running argument from the right.

Le Figaro maintained a Hollande victory would mean Mélenchon and his far-left support base would hold the new president hostage with “suicidal economic policies … to the detriment of France”.

But the left-leaning Le Monde said the Sarkozy presidency had “egregious shortcomings, due to his ubiquity, his exhibitionism, his endless capacity to contradict himself, his fascination with the rich, and his tendency to blame all shortcomings on the unemployed, immigrants, Muslims and civil servants”.

 “Even the debates between candidates on TV have attracted fewer people … and in particular, young people.– Shaima Elbialy, French journalist

Liberation, another left-leaning newspaper, said the financial markets “were not scared by the left” and had anticipated a Socialist win in both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

This acceptance – that if opinion polls are correct – means that on May 7, President Hollande will be the first Socialist president since 1995.

Throughout the campaign, a key component of debate and scrutiny has been the economy, with both leading candidates promising to balance the budget. Hollande, however has emphasised growth, in comparison with attempts to cut deficits through the “austerity” measures of Sarkozy’s administration.

The economy has dominated the election, even though there was a brief moment when it looked like the debate was about to be shifted to immigration and Islam following the Toulouse shootings.

It is the economy

Anne Gaelle, a French journalist in the northern town of Denain – often dubbed “the poorest city in France”, said the election had forced people there to “take an interest”, given the dependence of their future on the outcome of the vote.

Gaelle said general media coverage had been based on “economics being the main issue, not security. And all those anti-Muslim declarations haven’t really worked”.

Liberation, days after the Toulouse shootings criticised Sarkozy initially for how he had “played the Muslim card on terror, halal meat and Hijabs” to appeal to Le Pen supporters.

“As we approach the 2012 presidential election, relations between Nicolas Sarkozy and the Muslim community continue to deteriorate, as Sarkozy aims to use ‘the Muslim issue’ as a vote grabbing exercise,” said Gaelle.

Sarkozy’s reported attempts to pick up far-right voters did not go unnoticed and attracted strong international criticism, with The Wall Street Journal calling him “Nicolas Le Pen“. Yet Sarkozy has not be allowed to steer the debate far from the economy, and that is where he hopes he can take on Hollande in the second round.

There seems to be a general consensus coming from French media that, unlike previous elections, there are many voters who still haven’t made up their mind who to vote for, or have confessed they simply won’t be coming out to vote in the first round.

Shaima Elbialy, a French journalist living in London, said the media and the candidates failed to attract people’s attention simply because real issues had hardly been tackled.

“Even the debates between candidates on TV have attracted fewer people … and in particular, young people,” said Elbialy.

Marianne, a weekly French news magazine, implied that none of the candidates had announced any solution to “real problems” that fuel so much anger among voters – hence a potential low first-round turnout.

A study carried out by polling agency IFOP for the education magazine L’Etudiant reported 59 per cent of voters aged 18 to 22 were still unsure of their choice, compared with 32 per cent of the French population at large.

Spotlight coverage of April 22 presidential election

An IFOP opinion poll for the Journal de Dimanche weekly newspaper also predicted some 32 per cent of eligible voters would abstain from voting in this round.

According to writer Eric Le Boucher in the financial newspaper Les Echos, it is “an election of illusions,” calling the campaign “an overwhelming disappointment”.

Even though Le Figaro is rooting for Sarkozy, it has also stated that undecided voters were hesitating between “the vote from the heart” for Mélenchon or Le-Pen and the “vote from reason” for Hollande or Sarkozy.

But it is difficult to see how Sarkozy can overturn the odds and defeat Hollande, despite tough talk on the economy and immigration. The Toulouse shootings briefly played in his favour as the security-conscious incumbent, but recent polls have again seen Hollande rise above him in first-round voting.

As a run-off between Hollande and Sarkozy looks likely in next month’s second round, it is expected that the French media, along with the rest of the nation, will have to take a deeper role in scrutinising, analysing and commenting on who they really want to govern them.

Follow Hasan Patel on Twitter: @hasanpatel

Nicolas Sarkozy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Sarkozy” redirects here. For the surname, see Sárközi (surname).
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Nicolas Sarkozy
President of the French Republic
Incumbent
Assumed office
16 May 2007
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Jacques Chirac
Co-Prince of Andorra
Incumbent
Assumed office
16 May 2007
Serving with Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Prime Minister Albert Pintat
Jaume Bartumeu
Pere López Agràs (Acting)
Antoni Martí
Representative Philippe Massoni
Emmanuelle Mignon
Christian Frémont
Preceded by Jacques Chirac
Minister of the Interior
In office
2 June 2005 – 26 March 2007
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by Dominique de Villepin
Succeeded by François Baroin
In office
7 May 2002 – 30 March 2004
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded by Daniel Vaillant
Succeeded by Dominique de Villepin
Minister of Finance
In office
31 March 2004 – 29 November 2004
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded by Francis Mer
Succeeded by Hervé Gaymard
Minister of the Budget
In office
30 March 1993 – 11 May 1995
Prime Minister Édouard Balladur
Preceded by Michel Charasse
Succeeded by François d’Aubert
Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine
In office
14 April 1983 – 7 May 2002
Preceded by Achille Peretti
Succeeded by Louis-Charles Bary
Personal details
Born 28 January 1955 (age 57)
ParisFrance
Political party Rally for the Republic (Before 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement(2002–present)
Spouse(s) Marie-Dominique Culioli (1982–1996)
Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (1996–2007)
Carla Bruni (2008–present)
Children Pierre (by Culioli)
Jean (by Culioli)
Louis (by Ciganer-Albéniz)
Giulia (by Bruni)
Residence Élysée Palace
Alma mater Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Institute of Political Studies, Paris
Signature
Website Official website
Styles of
Nicolas Sarkozy
Armoiries république française.svg
Reference style Son Excellence (Monsieur)
Spoken style Monsieur le Président
Styles of
Nicolas Sarkozy
Coat of arms of Andorra.svg
Reference style His Serene Highness
Spoken style Your Serene Highness

Nicolas Sarkozy (pronounced [ni.kɔ.la saʁ.kɔ.zi] ( listen), born Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa; 28 January 1955) is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officioCo-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier.

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

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

In foreign affairs, he has promised a strengthening of the entente cordiale with the United Kingdom[1] and closer cooperation with the United States.[2] During his term, he faced the late-2000s financial crisis(followed by the recession and the debt crisis caused by it) and the Arab Spring (especially in TunisiaLibya and Syria). He also married singer-songwriter Carla Bruni on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palacein Paris.

Contents

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Personal life

Family background

Sarkozy is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa[3] (Hungariannagybócsai Sárközy Pál [nɒɟ͡ʝboːt͡ʃɒi ʃaːrkøzi paːl] ( listen); in some sources Nagy-Bócsay Sárközy Pál István Ernő),[4] a Hungarianaristocrat, and Andrée Jeanne “Dadu” Mallah (b. Paris, 12 October 1925), who is of half Greek Jewish and half French Catholic origin.[5][6] They were married at Saint-François-de-SalesParis XVII, on 8 February 1950 and divorced in 1959.[7]

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 mansion owned by Sarkozy’s grandfather, Benedict Mallah, in the 17th Arrondissement of Paris. The family later moved to Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest communes of the Île-de-France 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.[5]

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.[8] “What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood”, he said later.[8]

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,[9] but where he nonetheless obtained his baccalauréat in 1973. He enrolled at the Université Paris X Nanterre, where he graduated with an MA in Private law, and later with a DEA degree in Business law. Paris X Nanterre had been the starting place for the May ’68 student movement and was still a stronghold of leftist students. Described as a quiet student, Sarkozy soon joined the right-wing student organization, in which he was very active. He completed his military service as a part time Air Force cleaner.[10] After graduating, he entered the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, better known as Sciences Po, (1979–1981) but failed to graduate[11] due to an insufficient command of the English language.[12] After passing thebar, he became a lawyer specializing in business and family law,[12] and was one of Silvio Berlusconi‘s top French advocates.[13][14][15]

Marriages

Marie-Dominique Culioli

Sarkozy married his first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, on 23 September 1982; her father was a pharmacist from Vico (a village north of Ajaccio, Corsica). They had two sons, Pierre (born in 1985), now a hip-hop producer,[16] and Jean (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, later to become a political opponent.[17] Sarkozy divorced Culioli in 1996, after they had been separated for several years.

Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz

As mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Sarkozy met former fashion model and public relations executive Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (great-granddaughter of composer Isaac Albéniz and daughter of a Moldovan father), when he officiated at her wedding[18] to television host Jacques Martin. In 1988, she left her husband for Sarkozy, and divorced Martin one year later. Sarkozy married her in October 1996, with witnesses Martin Bouygues and Bernard Arnault[19]. 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.[20] On 25 May 2005, however, the Swiss newspaper Le Matinrevealed that she had left Sarkozy for French-Moroccan national Richard Attias, head of Publicis in New York.[21] There were other accusations of a private nature in Le Matin, which led to Sarkozy suing the paper.[22] In the meantime, he was said to have had an affair with a journalist of Le FigaroAnne Fulda.[23]

Sarkozy and Cécilia ultimately divorced on 15 October 2007, soon after his election as President.[24]

Carla Bruni

President Barack Obama is greeted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at the G8 Summit dinner inDeauville, France, 26 May 2011.

Less than a month after separating from Cécilia, Sarkozy met Italian-born singer Carla Bruni at a dinner party, and soon entered a relationship with her.[25] They married on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palacein Paris.[26]

The couple has a daughter, Giulia, born on 19 October 2011.[27] It is the first time a French president has had a child while in office.[28]

Personal wealth

Sarkozy declared to the Constitutional Council a net worth of €2 million, most of the assets being in the form of life insurance policies.[29] As the French President, one of his first actions was to give himself a pay rise: his yearly salary went from €101,000 to €240,000 (to match his European/French peers).[30] He is also entitled to a mayoral pension as a former mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Member of National Assembly

Sarkozy is recognised by both the right and left’s French parties as a skilled politician and striking orator.[31] His supporters within France emphasize his charisma, political innovation and willingness to “make a dramatic break” amid mounting disaffection against “politics as usual”. Overall, he is considered more pro-United States and pro-Israeli than most French politicians.

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

In government

Sarkozy’s political career began when he was 23, when he became a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine. A member of the Neo-Gaullist party RPR, he went on to be elected mayor of that town, after the death of the incumbent mayor Achille Peretti. Sarkozy had been close to Peretti, as his mother was Peretti’s secretary. The senior RPR politician at the time, Charles Pasqua, wanted to become mayor, and asked Sarkozy to organize his campaign. Instead Sarkozy profited from Pasqua’s short illness to propel himself into the office of mayor.[32] He was the youngest mayor of any town in France with a population of over 50,000. He served from 1983 to 2002. In 1988, he became a deputy in the National Assembly.

In 1993, Sarkozy was in the national news for personally negotiating with the “Human Bomb”, a man who had taken small children hostage in a kindergarten in Neuilly.[33] The “Human Bomb” was killed after two days of talks by policemen of the RAID, who entered the school stealthily while the attacker was resting.

At the same time, from 1993 to 1995, he was Minister for the Budget and spokesman for the executive in the cabinet of Prime Minister Édouard Balladur. Throughout most of his early career, Sarkozy had been seen as a protégé of Jacques Chirac. During his tenure, he increased France’s public debt more than any other French Budget Minister, 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.[34] According to the Maastricht Treaty, the French yearly budget deficit may not exceed three percent of France’s GDP.

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

However, he returned after the right-wing defeat at the 1997 parliamentary election, as the number two candidate of the RPR. When the party leader Philippe Séguin resigned, in 1999, he took the leadership of the Neo-Gaullist party. But it obtained its worst result at the 1999 European Parliament election, winning 12.7% of the votes, less than the dissident Rally for France of Charles Pasqua. Sarkozy lost the RPR leadership.

Nicolas Sarkozy speaking at the congress of his party, 28 November 2004

In 2002, however, after his re-election as President of the French Republic (see French presidential election, 2002), Chirac appointed Sarkozy as French Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Prime MinisterJean-Pierre Raffarin, despite Sarkozy’s support of Edouard Balladur for French President in 1995.[35] 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 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, and Chirac loyalists, such as Jean-Louis Debré.

Sarkozy was made Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by President Chirac in February 2005. He was re-elected on 13 March 2005 to the National Assembly (as required by the constitution,[36] he had to resign as a deputy when he became minister in 2002).

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

First term as Minister of the Interior

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

Sarkozy has sought to ease the sometimes tense relationships between the general French population and the Muslim community. Unlike the Catholic Church in France with their official leaders or Protestants with their umbrella organisations, the French Muslim community had a lack of structure with no group that could legitimately deal with the French government on their behalf. Sarkozy supported the foundation in May 2003 of the private non-profit Conseil français du culte musulman (“French Council of the Muslim Faith”), an organisation meant to be representative of French Muslims.[37] In addition, Sarkozy has suggested amending the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, mostly in order to be able to finance mosques and other Muslim institutions with public funds[38] so that they are less reliant on money from outside of France. It was not followed by any concrete measure.

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.

  • In September 2004, Sarkozy oversaw the reduction of the government ownership stake in France Télécom from 50.4 percent to 41 percent.[39]
  • Sarkozy backed a partial nationalisation of the large engineering company Alstom decided by his predecessor when the company was exposed to bankruptcy in 2003.[40]
  • 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.[41]
  • Taxes: Sarkozy avoided taking a position on the ISF (solidarity tax on wealth). This is considered an ideological symbol by many on the left and right. Some in the business world and on the liberal right, such as Alain Madelin, wanted it abolished. For Sarkozy, that would have risked being categorised by the left as a gift to the richest classes of society at a time of economic difficulties.[42]

Villepin government

Second term as Minister of the Interior

Sarkozy as Minister of the Interior with then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, after their bilateral meeting in Washington, D.C., 12 September 2006

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

However, the civil unrest in autumn 2005 put law enforcement in the spotlight again. Sarkozy was accused of having provoked the unrest by calling young delinquents from housing projects “rabble” (“racaille“) inArgenteuil near Paris, and controversially suggested cleansing the minority suburbs with a Kärcher. After the accidental death of two youths, which sparked the riots, Sarkozy first blamed it on “hoodlums” and gangsters. These remarks were sharply criticised by many on the left wing and by a member of his own government, Delegate Minister for Equal Opportunities Azouz Begag.[43]

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

UMP leader

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

Throughout 2005, Sarkozy called for radical changes in France’s economic and social policies. These calls culminated in an interview with Le Monde on 8 September 2005, during which he claimed that the French had been misled for 30 years by false promises.[44] Among other issues:

  • he called for a simplified and “fairer” taxation system, with fewer loopholes and a maximum taxation rate (all direct taxes combined) at 50 percent of revenue;
  • he approved measures reducing or denying social support to unemployed workers who refuse work offered to them;
  • he pressed for a reduction in the budget deficit, claiming that the French state has been living off credit for some time.

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

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

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

Presidential campaigns

2007 presidential campaign

Ségolène Royal was Sarkozy’s final opponent during the second (last) round of the 2007 presidential election.

Sarkozy was a likely candidate for the presidency in 2007; in an often-repeated comment made on television channel France 2, when asked by a journalist whether he thought about the presidential election when he shaved in the morning, Sarkozy commented, “not just when I shave”.[45]

On 14 January 2007, Sarkozy was chosen by the UMP to be its candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Sarkozy, who was running unopposed, won 98 percent of the votes. Of the 327,000 UMP members who could vote, 69 percent participated in the online ballot.[46]

In February 2007, Sarkozy appeared on a televised debate on TF1 where he expressed his support for affirmative action and the freedom to work overtime. Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, he advocated civil unions and the possibility for same-sex partners to inherit under the same regime as married couples. The law was voted in July 2007.[47]

On 7 February, Sarkozy decided in favour of a projected second, non-nuclearaircraft carrier for the national Navy (adding to the nuclear Charles de Gaulle), during an official visit in Toulon with Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie. “This would allow permanently having an operational ship, taking into account the constraints of maintenance”, he explained.[48]

Demonstrations and riots, Paris, May 6, 2007, following the election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the presidency of the French republic.

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.[49]

During the campaign, rival candidates had accused Sarkozy of being a “candidate for brutality” and of presenting hard-line views about France’s future.[50] Opponents also accused him of courting conservative voters in policy-making in a bid to capitalise on right-wing sentiments among some communities. However, his popularity was sufficient to see him polling as the frontrunner throughout the later campaign period, consistently ahead of rival Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal.

The first round of the presidential election was held on 22 April 2007. Sarkozy came in first with 31.18 percent of the votes, ahead of Ségolène Royal of the Socialists with 25.87 percent. In the second round, Sarkozy came out on top to win the election with 53.06 percent of the votes ahead of Ségolène Royal with 46.94 percent.[51] 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.”

2012 presidential campaign

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

General Council

  • President of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine : 2004–2007 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007).
  • Vice-president of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine : 1986–1988 (Resignation).
  • General councillor of Hauts-de-Seine : 1985–1988 / 2004–2007 (Resignation, became President of the French Republic in 2007).

Municipal Council

  • Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 1983–2002 (Resignation). Reelected in 1989, 1995, and 2001.
  • Deputy-mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 2002–2007 (Resignation).
  • Municipal councillor of Neuilly-sur-Seine : 1977–2007 (Resignation). Reelected in 1983, 1989, 1995, and 2001.

Political functions

Presidency

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

The official transfer of power from Jacques Chirac took place on 16 May at 11:00 am (9:00 UTC) at the Élysée Palace, where he was given the authorization codes of the French nuclear arsenal.[52] In the afternoon, the new President flew to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sarkozy greets US first lady Laura Bushin Germany, June 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy and General Jean-Louis Georgelin, Chief of the Defence Staff, reviewing troops during the Bastille Day 2008 military parade on the Champs-Élysées, Paris

Popularity polls

Under Sarkozy’s government, François Fillon replaced Dominique de Villepin as Prime Minister.[53] Sarkozy appointed Bernard Kouchner, the left-wing founder ofMédecins Sans Frontières, as his foreign minister, leading to Kouchner’s expulsion from the Socialist Party. In addition to Kouchner, three more Sarkozy ministers are from the left, including Eric Besson, who served as Ségolène Royal‘s economic adviser at the beginning of her campaign. Sarkozy also appointed seven women to form a total cabinet of 15; one, Justice Minister Rachida Dati, is the first woman of Northern African origin to serve in a French cabinet. Of the 15, two attended the elite École nationale d’administration (ENA).[54] The ministers were reorganised, with the controversial creation of a ‘Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development’—given to his right-hand man Brice Hortefeux—and of a ‘Ministry of Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Administration’—handed out to Éric Wœrth, supposed to prepare the replacement of only a third of all civil servants who retire. However, after the 17 June parliamentary elections, the Cabinet has been adjusted to 15 ministers and 16 deputy ministers, totalling 31 officials.

Shortly after taking office, Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group, especially Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC’s “chancellor”Rodrigo Granda.[55] Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya to their country. In exchange, he signed with Muammar Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts—and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILANantitank missile sale.[56] The contract was the first made by Libya since 2004, and was negotiated with MBDA, a subsidiary of EADS. Another 128 millions euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system. The Socialist Party (PS) and the Communist Party (PCF) criticised a “state affair” and a “barter” with a “Rogue state“.[57] The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation.[56]

On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 in order to prevent global warming. He then pushed forward Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn as European nominee to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[58] 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.[59]

In 2010, a study of Yale and Columbia universities ranked France the most respectful country of the G20 concerning the environment.[60]

The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Sarkozy’s party, won a majority at the June 2007 legislative election, although by less than expected. In July, the UMP majority, seconded by the Nouveau Centre, ratified one of Sarkozy’s electoral promises, which was to partially revoke the inheritance tax.[61][62] The inheritance tax formerly brought eight billion euros into state coffers.[63]

Sarkozy (at left) attending the G-8 Summitin 2009

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

Sarkozy broke with the custom of amnestying traffic tickets and of releasing thousands of prisoners from overcrowded jails on Bastille Day, a tradition that Napoleon had started in 1802 to commemorate thestorming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.[56]

Sarkozy’s government issued a decree on 7 August 2007 to generalise a voluntary biometric profiling program of travellers in airports. The program, called ‘Parafes’, was to use fingerprints. The new databasewould be interconnected with the Schengen Information System (SIS) as well as with a national database of wanted persons (FPR). The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) protested against this new decree, opposing itself to the recording of fingerprints and to the interconnection between the SIS and the FPR.[64]

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”.[65]

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.[66]

However, as a result of the global financial crisis that came to a head in September 2008, Sarkozy has returned to the state interventionism of his predecessors, declaring that “laissez-faire capitalism is over” and denouncing the “dictatorship of the market”. Confronted with the suggestion that he had become a socialist, he responded: “Have I become socialist? Perhaps.” He has also pledged to create 100,000 state-subsidised jobs.[67] This reversion to dirigisme is seen as an attempt to stem the growing popularity of revolutionary socialist leader Olivier Besancenot.[68]

President Nicolas Sarkozy with President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff

Nicolas Sarkozy with cypriot opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades

France wielded special international power when Sarkozy held the rotating EU Presidency from July 2008 through December 2008. Sarkozy has publicly stated his intention to attain EU approval of a progressive energy package before the end of his EU Presidency. This energy package would clearly define climate change objectives for the EU and hold members to specific reductions in emissions. In further support of his collaborative outlook on climate change, Sarkozy has led the EU into a partnership with China.[69] 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.[70] On 3 April 2009, at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg, Sarkozy announced that France would offer asylum to a former Guantanamo captive.[71][72] “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.[73]

On 27 February 2011, Sarkozy did for the 10th time of his presidency a government reshuffle.[74]

On 29 June 2011, he did an 11th government reshuffle, after the resignation of Christine Lagarde, who was appointed to head the International Monetary Fund. Five new ministers were appointed.

Middle East

On 5 January 2009, Sarkozy called for a ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip Conflict.[75] The plan, which was jointly proposed by Sarkozy and Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak envisions the continuation of the delivery of aid to Gaza and talks with Israel on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas smuggles its rockets into Gaza through the Egyptian border. Welcoming the proposal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a “ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security”.[76]

Involvement in Libya

Nicolas Sarkozy address the E-G8 Forum in Paris in 2011

In March 2011, after having been criticized for his unwillingness to support the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and persuaded by the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to have France actively engage against the forces of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, Nicolas Sarkozy was amongst the first Heads of State to demand the resignation of Gaddafi and his government, which was then fighting a civil war in Libya. On 10 March 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed to the Elysee Palace, three emissaries from the Libyan Transitory Rebel Council (CNTT), brought to him by Bernard-Henri Levy who mediated at the meeting. Nicolas Sarkozy promised them a no-fly zone would be imposed on Gaddafi’s aeroplanes. He also promised them France’s military assistance. On 17 March 2011, at the behest of France, resolution 1973 was adopted by the Security Council of the United Nations, permitting the creation of a “no fly” zone over Libya, and for the undertaking of “necessary measures” for the protection of the country’s civilian population. On 19 March 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy officially announced the beginning of a military intervention in Libya, with France’s participation. These actions of Nicolas Sarkozy were favorably received by the majority of the French political class and public opinion.[77][78][79]

Public image

Sarkozy was named the 68th best-dressed person in the world by Vanity Fair, alongside David Beckham and Brad Pitt.[80] However, Sarkozy has also been named as the third worst-dressed person in the world by GQ,[81] a listing that has been disputed.[82] Beside publicizing, at times, and at others, refusing to publicise his ex-wife Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz‘s image,[83] Sarkozy takes care of his own personal image, sometimes to the point of censorship—such as in the Paris Match affair, when he allegedly forced its director to resign following an article on his ex-wife and her affair with Publicis executive Richard Attias, or pressures exercised on the Journal du dimanche, which was preparing to publish an article concerning Ciganer-Albéniz’s decision not to vote in the second round of the 2007 presidential election.[84] In its 9 August 2007 edition, Paris Match retouched a photo of Sarkozy in order to erase a love handle.[85][86][87] His official portrait destined for all French town halls was done bySIPA photographer Philippe Warrin, better known for his paparazzi work.[88]

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.”[88] Sarkozy is reported by Reuters to be sensitive about his height (believed to be 165 cm (5 ft 5 in)).[89] 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.[90]

Sarkozy lost a suit against a manufacturer of Sarkozy voodoo dolls, in which he claimed that he had a right to his own image.[91]

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.[92]

Controversies

Unbalanced scales.svg
This article’s Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article’s neutral point of view of the subject. Please integrate the section’s contents into the article as a whole, or rewrite the material. (May 2011)

Generally, Sarkozy is strongly disliked by the Left, and is also criticised by some on the Right, most vocally by supporters of Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, such as Jean-Louis Debré.[93][94]

The magazine Marianne accused Sarkozy of changing opinion in an Airbus affair.[95] The communist-leaning magazine L’Humanité accused Sarkozy of being a populist.[96]

Many on the Left have a particular distrust for Nicolas Sarkozy; specific “anti-Sarko” movements have been started

In 2004 Sarkozy co-authored a book, La République, les religions, l’espérance (The Republic, Religions, and Hope),[97] in which he argued that the young should not be brought up solely on secular or republicanvalues. He advocated reducing the separation of church and state, arguing for the government subsidy of mosques in order to encourage Islamic integration into French society.[98] He opposes financing of religious institutions with funds from outside France. After meeting with Tom Cruise, Sarkozy was criticised by some for meeting with a member of the Church of Scientology, which is seen as a cult in France (see Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France).[99] Sarkozy stated that “the roots of France are essentially Christian” at December 2007 speech in Rome. He called Islam “one of the greatest and most beautiful civilizations the world has known” at a speech in Riyadh in January 2008. Both comments drew criticism from Christians.[100]

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 in June 2005, Sarkozy quoted a local resident and vowed to clean the area out “with aKärcher” (nettoyer la cité au Kärcher, referring to a well-known German brand of pressure-cleaning equipment), and two days before the 2005 Paris riots he referred to the criminal youth of the housing projects asvoyous (thugs) and racaille, a slang term which can be translated into English as rabblescum or riff-raff;[101] the French Communist Party‘s publication L’Humanité branded this language as inappropriate.[102]

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 for lack of proof.[103] 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 who had later committed a murder.[104]

Sarkozy opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. However, he was critical of the way Jacques Chirac and his foreign minister Dominique de Villepin expressed France’s opposition to the war. Talking at the French-American Foundation in Washington, D.C. 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.”[105] 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”.[105]

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

A few weeks before the first round of the 2007 presidential elections, Sarkozy said during an interview with philosopher Michel Onfray[106] that he thinks disorders such as paedophilia and depression have a genetic 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.[107][108] 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.”[109]

On 27 July 2007, Sarkozy delivered a speech in Senegal, written by Henri Guaino, in which he made reference to “African peasants“.[110][111] The controversial remarks were widely condemned by Africans, who viewed them as racist.[111][112][113] South African president Thabo Mbeki praised Sarkozy’s speech, which raised criticism by some in the South African media.[111][113]

On 23 February 2008, Sarkozy was filmed by a reporter for French newspaper Le Parisien having the following exchange while visiting the Paris International Agricultural Show:[114]

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.”[115]

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.[116][117][118]

On 28 August 2008, Hervé Eon, from Laval 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€.[119][120] The court eventually imposed a symbolic 30€ suspended fine, which has generally been interpreted as a defeat for the prosecution side.[121] This incident was widely reported on, in particular as Sarkozy, as president of the Republic, is immune from prosecution, notably restricting Eon’s rights to sue Sarkozy for defamation.[122]

On 8 November 2009, Sarkozy posted on his Facebook page a picture supposedly showing him chipping away at the Berlin Wall 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, online newspaper Mediapart ran an article in which Claire Thibout, an ex-accountant working for Liliane Bettencourt, accused Nicolas Sarkozy and Eric Woerth of receiving illegal campaign donations in 2007, in cash.[123][124]

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”.[125] This policy has been criticized for example by the US newspaper The New York Times,[125] by Sarkozy’s political opponents, including the leader of the PSMartine Aubry,[126] and by experts of French law, including the ex-member of the Constitutional Council of FranceRobert Badinter, who said that such action would be unconstitutional.[127]

Awards and honours

French honours

Other countries

Notes

  1. ^ David Byers (26 March 2008). “Nicolas Sarkozy calls for ‘Franco-British brotherhood’ as state visit begins”The Times (UK). Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  2. ^ Anderson, John Ward and Molly Moore; “Sarkozy Wins, Vows to Restore Pride in France”Washington Post, 7 May 2007
  3. ^ It is the “westernised”, or “internationalised”, version of his Hungarian name, in which the given name is put first (whereas in Hungarian given names come last), and the French aristocratic particle “de” is used instead of the Hungarian aristocratic ending “-i”. This “westernisation” of Hungarian names is frequent, particularly for people with an aristocratic name. Check for example the leader of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, whose Hungarian name is nagybányai Horthy Miklós, but who is known in English asMiklós Horthy de Nagybánya. The French name of Pál Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa from 1948 is Paul Étienne Arnaud Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, where the given name Pál has been translated into Paul in French, and the acute accents on the “a” of Sarközy and the “o” of Bocsa were dropped as these letters never carry an acute accent (accent aigu) in French. The trema on the “o” of Sárközy was kept, probably because French typewriters allow this combination, whereas it is impossible to write “a” or “o” with an acute accent using a French typewriter.
  4. ^ Schmemann, Serge (15 May 2007). “The New French President’s Roots Are Worth Remembering”The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  5. a b “Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy”. BBC News. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  6. ^ “A Greek book on Nicolas Sarkozy”. The European Jewish Press. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  7. ^ “Ancestry of Nicolas Sarkozy”. William Addams Reitwiesner. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  8. a b see Catherine Nay’s semi-official biography
  9. ^ Un pouvoir nommé désir, Catherine Nay, 2007
  10. ^ “Le service militaire de Sakozy”. Nousnours. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  11. ^ Augustin Scalbert, Un soupçon de vantardise sur les CV ministérielsRue 89, 18 September 2007 (French)
  12. a b See Catherine Nay’s semi-official biography
  13. ^ “Berlusconi : le “bon Nicolas Sarkozy” a été mon avocat”Le Nouvel Observateur. France. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  14. ^ “Corfù, il vertice del disgelo “Riparte collaborazione Nato-Russia” Il Cavaliere: “Mandai il mio avvocato Sarkozy da lui per la Georgia…””. Repubblica. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  15. ^ “Berlusconi al vertice Nato-Russia “Quando mandai l’avvocato Sarkozy””. L’UNIONE SARDA.it. 20 November 1948. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  16. ^ Indrisek, Scott (7 January 2008). “Pierre Sarkozy: Hip-Hop Producer”. Rhapsody Blog. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  17. ^ Sarkozy Closes in on his Goal: Ambition and Honesty on the French Campaign Trail Spiegel.de, 4 September 2007
  18. ^ “Cécilia Sarkozy: The First Lady vanishes”The Independent (London). 24 June 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2010.[dead link]
  19. ^ “Cecilia Sarkozy Biography”. NetGlimse.com. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  20. ^ Wyatt, Caroline (15 May 2007). “Sarkozy soap opera grips Paris”. BBC News. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  21. ^ “Nicolas Sarkozy divorce official”. HULIQ. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  22. ^ “Globaljournalist.org”. Global Journalist. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  23. ^ Willsher, Kim (19 February 2006). “The Sarkozy saga”.The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  24. ^ AFX News Limited (18 October 2007). “French president Sarkozy separation is ‘divorce’ – official UPDATE”.Forbes magazine.
  25. ^ France begins to grow weary with the Sarkozy soap operaThe Guardian, 13 January 2008
  26. ^ Associated Press (2 February 2008), French President Marries Former Model, ABC News
  27. ^ Samuel, Henry (20 October 2011). “Carla Bruni-Sarkozy confirms name of daughter: Giulia”The Daily Telegraph(London).
  28. ^ “France’s first couple welcomes their baby girl Giulia after low-profile pregnancy”The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-10-23.[dead link]
  29. ^ “L’homme qui valait 2 millions [The man worth 2 million]” (in French). Libération (France). 11 May 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  30. ^ Jon Boyle (31 October 2007). “Jokes and anger in France over Sarkozy pay rise”. Reuters UK. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  31. ^ “French Populism”, by Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2007 Edition, French version(French), English translation (English)
  32. ^ Le Parisien, 11 January 2007
  33. ^ Craig S. Smith (7 May 2007). “Sarkozy Wins the Chance to Prove His Critics Wrong”The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  34. ^ Dette publique de la France (French)
  35. ^ Sauced Sarkozy Felice E. Baker, The Dartmouth Independent, 31 October 2007
  36. ^ “French Constitution, article 23”. Assemblee Nationale. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  37. ^ JO associations, 28 May 2003
  38. ^ WorldWide Religious News[dead link]
  39. ^ Thorel, Jerome (1 September 2004). “Le gouvernement finalise la privatisation de France Télécom” (in French). ZDNet France. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  40. ^ “Bruxelles valide le sauvetage d’Alstom” (in French).L’Expansion (France: L’Express). 22 September 2003. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  41. ^ “Grande distribution : l’accord Sarkozy à moitié appliqué” (in French). L’Expansion (France: L’Express). 30 September 2004. Retrieved 18 March 2010.[dead link]
  42. ^ Martine, Gilson (20 May 2004). “ISF, la tentation des députés [press review]” (in French). Le Nouvel Observateur (France). Archived from the original on 8 February 2005.
  43. ^ Azouz Begag, principal opposant à Nicolas SarkozyLe Monde, 2 November 2005 (French)
  44. ^ “Interview with ‘,Le Monde’,, 8 September 2005”. Sarkozy Blog. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  45. ^ Broadcast of “France 2”, 19 November 2003
  46. ^ “Sarkozy nod for presidential run“, BBC News, 14 January 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  47. ^ It was included in the paquet fiscal that has been one of the first laws passed in Parliament
  48. ^ Sarkozy pour un deuxième porte-avions français (AFP)
  49. ^ France’s Jacques Chirac Backs Nicolas Sarkozy. 21 March 2007.
  50. ^ French confused over the real Sarkozy. 18 April 2007
  51. ^ Élection présidentielle de 2007—résultats définitifsFrench Ministry of the Interior
  52. ^ Samuel, Henry (17 May 2007). “Radiant Cécilia puts Sarkozy in the shade”Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 9 March 2010.
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  59. ^ France’s Sarkozy wants Strauss-Kahn as IMF headReuters, 7 July 2007 (English)
  60. ^ (French) La France au 7e rang mondial pour l’environnement – Le Monde
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  64. ^ Généralisation du fichage biométrique volontaire des voyageurs dans les aéroports françaisLe Monde, 8 August 2007 (French)
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  69. ^ New chapter opens in EU-China Climate Change Partnership EUbusiness.com, 29 April 2008
  70. ^ “France’s Sarkozy meets Dalai Lama as China fumes”. AFP. Google. 6 December 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  71. ^ In March 2009 President Sarkozy who fought for equal rights rights between the french soldiers and the colonial soldiers made a tour in Africa.He visited three countries, the Rd Congo, the Congo and Gaboon.Three dictatorships were in Gaboon and the Congo he honoured monuments of colonizer Savorgnan de Brazza“Sarkozy says France to accept Guantanamo prisoner”Houston Chronicle. 3 April 2009. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  72. ^ Tom Raum (3 April 2009). “Obama, Sarkozy find common ground on Guantanamo”. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
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  76. ^ “UN chief demands Gaza ceasefire”. BBC News. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  77. ^ “La Libye, un véritable succès diplomatique pour Sarkozy?”. leJDD.fr. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  78. ^ [1] “No Exit” by Philip Gourevitch, 12 December 2011, New Yorker
  79. ^ Erlanger, Steven (1 April 2011). “In His Telling, One Man Made Libya a French Cause”The New York Times.
  80. ^ French President Is Best Dressed PolCBS, 9 August 2007 (English)
  81. ^ Gordon Brown tops GQ worst dressed man pollDaily Mirror, 4 January 2010 (original GQ article no longer available)
  82. ^ GQ and Sarkozy: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Edwin’s Raisin, 15 January 2010
  83. ^ Frédéric Pagès, “Cécilia, dame d’enfer” in Le Canard enchaîné, 22 August 2007 (French)
  84. ^ Cécilia Sarkozy n’a pas voté… scoop censuré du JDD,Rue 89, 13 May 2007 (French)
  85. ^ Sarkozy: les poignées de l’amourL’Express, 22 August 2007 (French)
  86. ^ Un bourrelet relance le débat sur la retouche d’imagesRue 89, 23 August 2007 (French)
  87. ^ Topless Sarkozy’s love handles airbrushed away,Foreign Policy blog, 22 August 2007 (English)
  88. a b Chloé Leprince, Pour le nouveau Président, la rupture commence par l’imageRue 89, 21 August 2007(French)
  89. ^ “Socialists say Sarkozy has “small man syndrome””. Reuters. 21 September 2007.
  90. ^ “Sarkozy height row grips France”. BBC News. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  91. ^ “France enjoys Sarkozy’s voodoo doll setback” by Katrin Bennhold, International Herald Tribune, 30 October 2008
  92. ^ “Le laughing stock? Mocking biopic of Nicholas Sarkozy to star at Cannes Film Festival”Daily Mail. 15 April 2011. Accessed 17 April 2011
  93. ^ “Cette droite qui dit “non” à Sarkozy”. Marianne2007.info.
  94. ^ “Boutin renonce à se présenter et soutient Sarkozy”.La Croix. France.
  95. ^ Marianne – Le retournement de Sarkozy sur la recapitulisation de la société Airbus, 5 March 2007
  96. ^ L’HumanitéHumanite.presse.fr, 11 June 2005
  97. ^ Sarkozy, Nicolas; Thibaud Collin, Philippe Verdin (2004).La République, les religions, l’espéranceLes éditions du CerfISBN 2204072834.
  98. ^ “L’Etat Doit-Il Financer La Construction de Mosquées ?” (in French). Libres.org. 2 July 2007.
  99. ^ Worldwide Religious News, 2 September 2004
  100. ^ “French President’s religious mixing riles critics”.Christianity Today. 23 January 2008.
  101. ^ answering to a resident who addressed Sarkozy with “Quand nous débarrassez-vous de cette racaille ?” (When will you rid us of these dregs?) – “Banlieues : filmer et raconter avec Françoise Laborde, Claude Dilain, Nicolas Comte, Guillaume Biet (Les videos)” (in French). Arrêt sur images (France 5). 6 November 2005. Archived fromthe original on 3 July 2007.
  102. ^ “Nicolas Sarkozy pompier pyromane”L’Humanité(France). 2 November 2005.
  103. ^ “Incendie de Pau : les 8 accusés acquittés” (in French). Le Nouvel ObservateurAssociated Press(France). 1 October 2005. Archived from the original on 29 May 2008.
  104. ^ “Nicolas Sarkozy veut faire ” payer ” un juge pour ” sa faute “” (in French) (Fee required for full article). Le Monde. 23 June 2005.
  105. a b (French) Libération (18 September 2006). “Chirac juge “lamentable” l’atlantisme de Sarkozy”.
  106. ^ Philosophie Magazine, nr 8, April 2007; online extracts
  107. ^ L’Humanité, 4 April 2007, « Un gène ne commande jamais un destin humain »
  108. ^ Le Monde, 11 April 2007, Tollé dans la communauté scientifique après les propos de Nicolas Sarkozy sur la génétique
  109. ^ The Guardian, 10 April 2007, “Row over Sarkozy’s paedophilia comment refuses to go away”
  110. ^ News24.com; 28 July 2007; Sarkozy’s Africa vision under fire
  111. a b c Chris McGreal;The Guardian (UK) 27 August 2007Mbeki criticised for praising ‘racist’ Sarkozy
  112. ^ Michel Agier, l’Afrique en France après le discours de DakarVacarme n°42 (French)
  113. a b Achille MbembeMail and Guardian (South Africa); 27 August 2007; Sacré bleu! Mbeki and Sarkozy?
  114. ^ “Premiers pas mouvementés de Sarkozy au salon de l’agriculture” (in French) (SWF). Le Parisien. France. 23 February 2008.
  115. ^ In French: Lors de sa traversée éclair du salon samedi matin, en plein bain de foule, Sarkozy croise un visiteur récalcitrant qui refuse sa poignée de main. «Ah non, touche-moi pas», prévient-il. Le chef de l’État rétorque sans détour : «Casse-toi, alors.» «Tu me salis», embraye l’homme. Le sourire se crispe. Sarkozy lâche, desserrant à peine les dents, un raffiné «Casse-toi alors, pauv’con, va».
  116. ^ Goldhammer, Arthur (25 February 2008). “Found on the web”French Politics. An American observer comments on French politics. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  117. ^ “French supporters defend Sarkozy” Agence France-Presse, 25 February 2008
  118. ^ Crispian Balmer (26 February 2008). “Sarkozy runs afoul of critics with rank reply”National PostReuters(Canada): p. A2.[dead link]
    • Article noted at fpinfomart.ca, but is not available.
  119. ^ Poignard, Anne-Claire (24 October 2008). “” Casse-toi, pauvre con ! ” : quatre mots à 1 000 euros” (in French) (Fee required for full article). Le Monde.
  120. ^ Eon (4 September 2008). “” Casse-toi pov’con ” : au tribunal pour outrage au Président” (in French). Rue 89.
  121. ^ “” Casse-toi pov’con ” : 30 euros avec sursis pour Hervé Eon”. Rue89. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  122. ^ Raphaëlle Besse Desmoulières (23 October 2008). “Le délit d’outrage est une infraction obsolète” (in French).Le Monde.
  123. ^ L’ex-comptable des Bettencourt accuse: des enveloppes d’argent à Woerth et à Sarkozy, original report, in French
  124. ^ “Financial Times article”Financial Times. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  125. a b “Casting Out the Un-French”The New York Times. 5 August 2010.
  126. ^ “Réaction : SÉCURITÉ – Aubry dénonce la “dérive antirépublicaine” de Sarkozy et de sa majorité, actualité Politique : Le Point”Le Point. France. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  127. ^ “Badinter rappelle à Sarkozy l’égalité de tous les Français devant la loi”Le Monde. France. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  128. ^ “President Saakashvili Awards French President”. YouTube. 2008-08-11. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  129. ^ “Basilica papale” (in Italian). Vicariatus Urbis—Portal of the Diocese of Rome. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
  130. ^ “A Sarkozy il Premio Mediterraneo Istituzioni”. Denaro.it. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
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  132. ^ Article on “Noblesse et Royautés”
  133. ^ “Real Decreto 21/2004, de 9 de enero, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Real y Distinguida Orden Española de Carlos III al señor Nicolas Sarkozy, Ministro del Interior de la República Francesa”. Derecho.com. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  134. ^ “Noblesse et Royautés” website, Article & Photo
  135. ^ “Queen hosts French President Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla”. News.com.au. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2010.

Further reading

  • Sarkozy, Nicolas (1994). [Georges Mandel] : le moine de la politique. Paris: B. Grasset. ISBN 978-2-246-46301-6.
  • Ottenheimer, Ghislaine (1994). Les deux Nicolas: la machine Balladur. Paris: Plon. ISBN 2-259-18115-5.
  • Sarkozy, Nicolas; and Denisot, Michel (1995). Au bout de la passion, l’équilibre. Paris: A. Michel. ISBN 2-226-07616-6., interviews with Michel Denisot
  • Hauser, Anita (1995). Sarkozy: l’ascension d’un jeune homme pressé. Paris: Belfond. ISBN 2-7144-3235-2., Grand livre du mois 1995
  • Sarkozy, Nicolas (2003). Libre. Paris: Pocket. ISBN 2-266-13303-9., subject(s): Pratiques politiques—France—1990–, France—Politique et gouvernement—1997–2002
  • Mantoux, Aymeric (2003). Nicolas Sarkozy: l’instinct du pouvoir. Paris: First Éd.. ISBN 2-87691-783-1.
  • Nay, Catherine (2007). Un Pouvoir Nommé Désir. Paris: l’Archipel. ISBN 2-84187-495-8.
  • Hauser, Anita (2003). Sarkozy: itinéraire d’une ambition. Paris: Grasset. ISBN 978-2246680017.
  • Le Canard enchaîné (periodical) (2003). Sarkozy, l’homme (trop) pressé. Paris: “Le Canard enchaîné”. ISSN 0292-5354 (series)., series: Les dossiers du “Canard enchaîné” 89
  • Domenach, Nicolas ([2004]). Sarkozy au fond des yeux. [Paris]: Jacob-Duvernet. ISBN 2-84724-064-0.
  • 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“¿Quién teme a Nicolas Sarkozy? El ministro de economía francés se postula como próximo candidato a las presidenciales de 2007.: An article from: Epoca: Marta Alvarez-Montalvo: Books”. Amazon.com. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  • Blocier, Antoine (2004). Voyage à Sarkoland. Pantin: le Temps des cerises. ISBN 2-84109-449-9.
  • Cabu (2004). Sarko circus. Paris: le Cherche Midi. ISBN 2-7491-0277-4., subject(s): Sarkozy, Nicolas (1955–)—Caricatures et dessins humoristiques
  • Gurrey, Béatrice (2004). Le rebelle et le roi. Paris: A. Michel. ISBN 2-226-15576-7., Grand Livre du mois 2004, subject(s): Chirac, Jacques (1932–), Sarkozy, Nicolas (1955–), France—Politique et gouvernement—1995–
  • Sarkozy, Nicolas; and Verdin, Philippe, and Collin, Thibaud (2004). La République, les religions, l’espérance : entretiens avec Thibaud Collin et Philippe Verdin. Paris: les éd. du Cerf. ISBN 2-204-07283-4., subject(s): Laïcité—France—1990–, Islam—France—1990–
  • Darmon, Michaël (2004). Sarko Star. Paris: Éd. du Seuil. ISBN 2-02-066826-2.
  • Friedman, Jean-Pierre (2005). Dans la peau de Sarko et de ceux qui veulent sa peau. Paris: Michalon. ISBN 2-84186-270-4.
  • Noir, Victor (2005). Nicolas Sarkozy, le destin de BrutusISBN 2-207-25751-7.
  • Reinhard, Philippe (2005). Chirac Sarkozy, mortelle randonnée. Paris: First éd.. ISBN 2-7540-0003-8.
  • Sautreau, Serge (2005). Nicoléon, roman. [Paris]: L’ Atelier des Brisants. ISBN 2-84623-074-9.
  • René Dosière, ‘L’argent caché de l’Élysée’, Seuil, 2007

External links

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For the sake of Europe, Sarkozy must stand down

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

President Sarkozy is facing a tough re-election battle [EPA]
Washington, DC – As nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 commence, both sides are talking tough in public to mask their private urgency. The US continues to reiterate that the “window for diplomacy” is fast closing, while the Iranians have made a play to have negotiations take place in Baghdad, Damascus or Beirut – a not-so-subtle swipe at the waning influence of the US in key regional outposts where Iran has pull.

As the conflict escalates, the US, Iran and Israel almost always occupy the headlines. However, no less important – but much less understood – is the complicating role being played by France under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

From the outset of the Obama administration’s efforts to resolve the nuclear dispute diplomatically, Sarkozy positioned himself to the right of the US president. While Europe by and large welcomed Obama’s new approach, there was “unease” and “apprehension” in Paris that Obama would go soft on Iran.

In early 2009, when Obama had just entered office, Sarkozy pushed the EU to impose sanctions prior to diplomatic efforts. The bid failed, due to resistance from other EU states who felt that Sarkozy’s strategy would undermine Obama. “Going in hawkish on the European side while Obama was stretching out his hand would certainly undermine the credibility of the outstretched hand,” a senior diplomat (from none of the EU3 countries of the UK, France and Germany) told us in 2010.

Later, when Obama was preparing a fuel swap proposal, Sarkozy resisted once more. France viewed the proposal as “extremely dangerous” since it could legitimise Iranian enrichment, preferring instead the zero-enrichment objective of the Bush administration. Less than a year later, Sarkozy opposed a revised fuel swap deal negotiated by Turkey and Brazil. Just a few weeks ago, France resisted US-led efforts to arrange the scheduled P5+1 talks with Iran, arguing that Iran’s acceptance letter wasn’t adequate.

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Sarkozy appeals for right wing voters

Throughout this period, France has pushed against diplomatic compromises and advocated escalation. Sarkozy was at the forefront of pushing for an EU oil embargo on Iran at a time of record high prices, rising demand in Asia and most of Europe on the verge of economic collapse. The economies of Greece, Italy and Spain are on life support – and they were among the leading EU importers of Iranian oil. Sarkozy’s poor economic management is equally damaging at home, with France’s own credit rating downgraded after nearly five years under his watch.

Few allies

Rather than take steps to calm international markets, lower oil prices and help repair France’s economy, Sarkozy has repeatedly pushed an Iran policy that exacerbates a root cause of Europe’s economic malaise.

In his intransigence, Sarkozy has few allies besides Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (who Sarkozy believes is a “liar”). Both men insist upon zero enrichment on Iranian soil – a capitulation to which Iran will not succumb, and a departure from the US tacit acknowledgement of indigenous Iranian enrichment at the 3.5 per cent level.

President Obama is left with the daunting task of trying to hold together an inherently unstable international coalition against Iran, find political will and space for sustained negotiations, and walk back overheated war rhetoric. “With friends like these…” is increasingly becoming a mantra amongst current and former US officials alike.

Patience and perseverance are needed in any negotiation. This is not unique to the West or Iran. And yes, Iran won’t play fair. Iranian recalcitrance is both well documented and a cause for concern. It can be expected to leverage loopholes and missteps throughout the negotiation process – but an honest assessment of prior negotiations shows that Sarkozy won’t miss an opportunity to do the same.

Negotiations involving the US and Iran are already fraught with complications. Now that we have a new opportunity to step back from the precipice of war, it’s time for Sarkozy to stand down and let the adults in the room take risks for peace – and for economic recovery.

Reza Marashi is Research Director at the National Iranian American Council and former Iran Desk Officer at the US Department of State.  

Trita Parsi is President of the National Iranian American Council and author of A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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