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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)
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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]

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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
Preceded by
Lionel Jospin
First Secretary of the Socialist Party
1997–2008
Succeeded by
Martine Aubry
Preceded by
Ségolène Royal
Socialist Party nominee for President of France
2012
Most recent
Radical Party of the Left nominee for President of France
2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Raymond-Max Aubert
Mayor of Tulle
2001–2008
Succeeded by
Bernard Combes
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Dupont
President of the General Council of Corrèze
2008–present
Incumbent


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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.

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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.
  53. ^ Communiqué de la Présidence de la République concernant la nomination du Premier ministre. Élysée Palace, 17 May 2007
  54. ^ France’s New Government – A study in perpetual motionThe Economist, 23 June 2007 (English)
  55. ^ Llama G8 a FARC contribuir a liberación de rehenes,La Cronica, 8 June 2007 (Spanish)
  56. a b c Molly Moore, France’s Sarkozy Off to a Running StartWashington Post, 4 August 2007 (English)
  57. ^ Tripoli annonce un contrat d’armement avec la France, l’Elysée dans l’embarrasLe Monde, 2 August 2007(French)
  58. ^ FMI: Strauss-Kahn candidat officiel de l’Union européenneLe Figaro, 10 July 2007 (French)
  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
  61. ^ Les députés votent la quasi-suppression des droits de successionLe Figaro, 13 July 2007 (French)
  62. ^ Les droits de succession (presque) supprimés,Libération, 13 July 2007 (French)
  63. ^ Droits de succession: pour une minorité de ménages aisésL’Humanité, 7 June 2007 (French)
  64. ^ Généralisation du fichage biométrique volontaire des voyageurs dans les aéroports françaisLe Monde, 8 August 2007 (French)
  65. ^ France backs constitution reform; France backs constitution reform BBC News, 21 July 2008
  66. ^ “France—The reformist president”The Economist. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
  67. ^ “Is Sarkozy a closet socialist?”The Economist. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  68. ^ Campbell, Matthew (16 November 2008). “Carla Bruni ‘stirs the Che Guevara’ inside Nicolas Sarkozy”The Times (UK). Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  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.
  73. ^ NPR.org[dead link]
  74. ^ “France’s Sarkozy Confirms Government Reshuffle (Dow Jones Deutschland)”. Dowjones.de. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  75. ^ MacDonald, Alastair (7 January 2009). “France’s Sarkozy calls for Gaza ceasefire”. Reuters. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  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.
  131. ^ “El Rey concede el Toisón de Oro a Sarkozy”. elmundo.es. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  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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Preceded by
Philippe Séguin
Leader of Rally for the Republic
Acting

1999
Succeeded by
Michèle Alliot-Marie
Preceded by
Alain Juppé
Leader of the Union for a Popular Movement
2004–2007
Succeeded by
Patrick Devedjian
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Claude Gaudin
Pierre Méhaignerie
Political offices
Preceded by
Daniel Vaillant
Minister of the Interior
2002–2004
Succeeded by
Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by
Francis Mer
Minister of Finance
2004
Succeeded by
Hervé Gaymard
Preceded by
Dominique de Villepin
Minister of the Interior
2005–2007
Succeeded by
François Baroin
Preceded by
Jacques Chirac
President of France
2007–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Janez Janša
President of the European Council
2008
Succeeded by
Mirek Topolánek
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jacques Chirac
Co-Prince of Andorra
2007–present
Served alongside: Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Incumbent

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.

http://www.aljazeera.com/AJEPlayer/player-licensed-viral.swf
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.

Why you should care about the French election

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Via  

In normal years, a presidential election in France wouldn’t garner much interest here in the United States. But this isn’t a normal year. The euro zone is lurching from crisis to crisis, and France, the continent’s second-largest economy, will need to play a crucial role in fixing things.


Will Francois Hollande shake up Europe? (Bob Edme/AP)The current front-runner in the French race, Francois Hollande of the Socialist party, has vowed to renegotiate the treaties that bind the euro zone together, arguing that the current focus on austerity is counterproductive. His main opponent, incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy, argues that Hollande is threatening to undermine the entire euro zone project. The first round of the French election is Sunday, April 22, and the top two candidates will compete in a run-off on May 6. Some observers fear that if Hollande wins, investors in Europe will get spooked, which could, in turn, ripple out to our economy, and even to our election.

To get a better sense of the stakes involved, I called up Arthur Goldhammer, who is currently at Harvard’s Center for European Studies, and who has been following the twists and turns of the election closely over at his excellent French Politics blog.

Brad Plumer: What’s your basic summary of what France’s election is about?

Arthur Goldhammer: I think the defining characteristic of this election is that the primary cleavage has not been between right and left, but between the first and second tier candidates. In the top tier, there’s Sarkozy and Hollande, with around 30 percent each. Then in the next tier, there’s [Jean-Luc] Melenchon on the extreme left and [Marine] Le Pen on the extreme right.

The top tier favors some version of adaptation to the global economy, they want to enable the E.U. to survive and to improve France’s competitiveness in the world. To them, the biggest issue is what to do about the euro crisis, although curiously they’ve had very little discussion of that. The second-tier candidates want to resist the forces of globalization. So in France, about 55 to 60 percent of voters are in favor of adaptation, but there’s about 30 percent voting to resist. That’s a strong anti-establishment vote.

BP: So what happens after the first round of voting this Sunday?. Who advances and who wins the runoff in May?

AG: The polling for the second round has been extremely steady and consistent, showing Hollande with a comfortable lead, sitting at 54 or 55 percent of the vote. The race between him and Sarkozy might be a little closer because there will be a debate between the first and second rounds [of voting]. Sarkozy is a good debater. Hollande has adopted the front-runner strategy of staying quiet, but Sarkozy might be able to flush him out in the debate, and that could cost him. But unless all the polls are way off, it’s likely that Hollande will win.

BP: So just looking at the front-runners, Sarkozy and Hollande — the big issue here is what to do about the ongoing euro crisis. Do they differ much in their approaches?

AG: The big difference is that Hollande is calling for an open renegotiation of what he calls the “Merkozy pact,” which urges each euro zone country to adopt a balanced budget amendment into their constitutions. Sarkozy doesn’t go this far because he’s a party to that pact. But underneath it all, they both agree that something needs to change in Europe. Sarkozy in his early years was quite outspoken in attacking the German view of Europe and the policies of the European Central Bank, and he’s aware of the need to find ways to stimulate growth in the euro zone.

If Hollande is elected and goes through with trying to renegotiate the euro zone pact, he’ll find support from countries like Spain and Italy. Spain desperately needs to do something to bring down its 25 percent unemployment rate, and Mario Monti in Italy was ostensibly put in there to implement the pro-austerity consensus, but he’s having difficulty with the country’s labor unions, and knows something needs to be done to stimulate the economy.

So everyone outside Germany has an interest in changing things. And I think [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel has evolved on this, recognizing that an all-austerity approach isn’t going to work. But she’s facing her own election in 2013 and a substantial portion of her party doesn’t want to budge on this. So if I’m correct that she’s evolved, she has a political problem. Hollande’s election might give her some room to maneuver, by building a consensus for more pro-growth policies. Hollande’s election could be a signal of a change in thinking and influence German politics.

BP: But now Sarkozy has attacked Hollande for pledging to renegotiate the euro zone pact. Doesn’t that suggest Sarkozy approves Europe’s current course?

AG: Right, Sarkozy has attacked him on this point, saying that France has signed a treaty, that [Hollande] is undermining the country’s international credibility. But I think, underneath the surface, both recognize that there’s a fundamental structural imbalance in Europe. And the only way to rebalance is for Germany to commit to investing in the South or for a transfer of funds… and that institutional changes need to take place at the European level.

BP: Certainly the German press doesn’t sound thrilled about the prospects of a Hollande victory. If Hollande does win the run-off in May, could that really be the start of a shift in how the euro zone approaches its crisis?

AG: That’s the optimistic reading, although the question is whether Hollande has the leadership capability to do this. Throughout his career he’s been a compromiser, he’s never been one to stake out a strong position among the competing currents within his [Socialist] party. So it’s not certain he’ll be able to carry out whatever tough negotiations are necessary.

BP: Now the other question is that you read lots of newspaper articles about how Hollande’s this socialist who’s going to raise the top tax rate to 75 percent and cause investors to flee the country. Is there anything to this, or is these fears being inflated by Sarkozy’s camp?

AG: Sarkozy has certainly been stoking those fears, the way that in 1981 people were warning that [Francois] Mitterand’s election would lead to Soviet tanks in France. But Hollande comes from a wing of the party that’s quite moderate in many respects. Markets might be rattled by his election, at least briefly — especially if unions expect some gestures from the Socialists in terms of turning back [Sarkozy’s reforms on] retirement and the minimum wage.

But on retirement age, Hollande isn’t likely to do much to change Sarkozy’s reforms. [Hollande has proposed lowering the retirement age from 62 to 60 for a small class of workers.] His camp recognizes that for budgetary reasons they have to keep most of the reforms in place. […] He’s facing a possible further downgrade in France and a rise in borrowing costs. He knows that, and he’ll have to take steps to reassure the markets.

The unions will likely try to put pressure on Hollande soon after the election in order to test his resolve, but as a colleague of mine who was an adviser to Prime Minister Michel Rocard back in the 80s pointed out, there were 100,000 union demonstrators in the streets every fall during that period of Socialist government, and Rocard held firm. In a sense, it’s easier for the Socialists to deal with the unions, because there is a reservoir of trust that doesn’t exist with right-wing governments. So, while there may be demonstrations and even some strikes, the unions are unlikely to push hard enough to cause a real crisis. French unions tend to be cautious anyway, and they have an interest in helping Hollande through a difficult initial patch, although they also have to defend the interests of their members.

BP: So why is Sarkozy likely to lose? Is it the economy?

AG: Economic crises are hard on incumbents everywhere, we’ve seen that in the UK, Italy, Spain, and Greece since the crisis began. But over and above that, there’s been a huge anti-Sarkozy reaction at home. His tough talk and abrasive personality helped him at first but hurt him over time, and he’s made a number of moves that were held against him — there was the turmoil in his personal life, where he got divorced and married a supermodel, that lost him a lot support among conservative Catholic voters. He earned a reputation as the “bling bling” president because of the people he hung out with and the lavish dinners he held. And then he appointed his 23-year old son to run a billion dollar urban development agency. That was seen as a real abuse of his power.

BP: And now what about Marine Le Pen, the right-wing National Front candidate? A while back she was doing surprisingly well in the polls.

AG: A year ago I would’ve said that she was a major threat… there was polling a year ago that she might surpass Sarkozy and capture a huge percentage of the working-class vote. That seems to have subsided. … It suggests that the extreme right has not been increasing in France as rapidly as had been feared, and that’s a significant point that needs to be reported.

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