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HomeWikipedia List > Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy (French: Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, January 28, 1955 - ) is a French politician.

He was the sixth president of the fifth French Republic (May 16, 2007 - May 14, 2912) and Co-Prince of Andorra.

He is the former head of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire.

As the President of France, he was unconventionally both neoconservative and neoliberal.

The appearance of a second-generation immigrant president with Jewish roots was seen as something that would only happen in America, so his being a second-generation immigrant from Hungary with a Jewish mother was seen as an unprecedented and strengthened the impression of a multicultural France.

He himself is Catholic.

He praised England's Tony Blair as a politician he admired and said that Italy's Silvio Berlusconi was his "model for being a politician," and was known for having a close relationship with them, calling both soon after he was elected president.

Contents

1 Personal History

 1.1 Upbringing

 1.2 Entering Politics

 1.3 Ministry

 1.4 Presidency

2 Opinions and Policies

 2.1 Basic Policies

 2.2 Foreign Policy

 2.2.1 United States of America

 2.2.2 Japan

 2.2.3 Libya

 2.2.4 China

 2.2.5 The Middle East

 2.3 Domestic Policy

 2.3.1 Proposal to Amend the Constitution

 2.3.2 Economic Polices

 2.3.3 Immigration Policies

 2.3.4 Establishing a French Identity

 2.3.5 Energy Policies

3 Character

3.1 Personality

 3.2 Personal Life

4 Gaffes

5 Criticism

Personal History

Upbringing

He is from Paris.

As a child, he lived in the 17th Arrondissement of Paris, then in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

His father's side was lesser nobility from Alattyán, Hungary.

His father, Pál Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (Hungarian: nagybócsai Sárközy Pál, May 5, 1928 - ) fled the Soviet occupation of his native country, passed through the French-occupied Germany, and joined the French Foreign Legion.

After having undergone training as a soldier, he was judged unfit and discharged in Marseilles in 1948.

He gallicized the spelling of his name to Paul Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa.

In 1949, Paul, who was working in advertisement, met and married Andrée Mallah (October 12, 1925 - ), a law student who was the daughter of a 17th Arrondissement doctor.

There is Greek Jewish from Thessaloniki on his mother's side, but they converted to Catholicism during his grandfather's generation.

When Nicolas Sarkozy was five years old, his father left his wife and three children.

He remarried twice after that.

Nicolas was raised by his mother and maternal grandfather, and was poor as a child.

Because of their difficult financial situation, his mother Andrée went back to school and became a lawyer.

Nicolas Sarkozy has said that "what made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood."

His older brother Guillaume Sarkozy (June 18, 1951 - ) is president of a textile company and vice-president of the French union of employers (MEDEF).

His younger brother, François Sarkozy (June 3, 1958 - ), was a pediatrician and is now a biologist.

In contrast to his brothers, who were both honor students, Nicolas had mediocre grades in junior high and high school, and his English scores his sixth grade year (first year in Japanese junior high) were so bad that he had to repeat a year.

Entering Politics

In 1973, he obtained his baccalauréat (qualification for entering university) and attended the Université Paris X Nanterre.

At the time, he planned to become a journalist.

In 1976, while he was a student at the university, he joined the politically conservative Rally for the Republic (RPR) party created by Jacques Chirac.

In 1977, he was elected to the lowest position in municipal council of Neuilly-sur-Seine, a high-class commune in the suburbs west of Paris in the Hauts-de-Seine department.

That same year, he was elected an RPR central assembly member.

He was the national representative for the RPR's youth group from 1978 to 1979, and from 1979 to 1981, he was the chair of the RPR's national youth committee.

After graduating from college, he briefly attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies, but was hamstrung by English and unable to complete his studies.

He passed the bar exam in 1981, and established a practice in Paris specializing in real estate.

In 1983, at the age of 28, he was elected regional councillor of Île-de-France and mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine (held until 2002).

He had provided results for issues such as reducing crime.

He was first elected to the National Assembly (the lower house) in 1988.

He also served as the mayor of Neuilly.

He served in the cabinet ministry for the first time as the Minister for the Budget in Balladur's cabinet in 1993.

That same year, there was a hostage situation at a kindergarten in Neuilly.

As mayor, he directly negotiated with the criminal, and became famous across the country for having contributed to the release of the hostages.

In the 1995 French presidential election, he broke away from Jacques Chirac and joined with Charles Pasqua in supporting the opposing candidate,  Édouard Balladur.

However, Chirac was elected president in the final election, and Sarkozy was frozen out of the first Chirac administration.

In 1997, he had a comeback as the number two candidate in the ruling Rally for the Republic (RPR) party, but he suffered a crushing defeat as the head of the party in the 1999 European parliamentary elections and there were whispers of his political life being in danger, so he resigned from all of his party positions and temporarily returned to working as a lawyer.

Cabinet Ministry

In May 2002, he joined Raffarin's cabinet as Minister of the Interior and he once again took center stage and he began himself thinking about becoming party head, which lead to tensions between him and Chirac.

In March 19, 2003, aiming to restore public order, he executed the "Loi Sarkozy," which strengthened penalties for petty crimes and controlled prostitution.

Through Minister of the Interior Sarkozy's firm public safety measures, the number of crimes committed in the country fell dramatically, and Sarkozy, who had achieved real results, immediately became a high-caliber politician.

In 2004, he changed over to being the Minister of Finance.

On November 29th of that year, he won 85% of the votes in the party elections for the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which was descended from the RPP, and was elected head of the party.

Chirac feared Sarkozy's growing power, and Sarkozy resigned as Finance Minister.

On May 31, 2005, he began work as the Minister of the Interior for de Villepin's cabinet.

He put down the civil unrest that broke out in Paris that year.

He used words like "scum" (racaille) and "thugs" (voyou) against the youth that were involved in the violence, for which he was sharply criticized, but his firm stance actually gained him support.

During the midst of the violence, Ifop conducted a telephone poll of 958 voters and found that 90% supported the UMP, but that of those who supported extreme right wing parties, 97% said they supported Sarkozy's firm stance.

Presidency

He ran in the 2007 French presidential election.

Gathering support with a conservative and a working family base, he defeated the Socialist Party's Royale and won the presidency on May 6th.

He began working as the sixth president of the Fifth French Republic on the 16th of that month.

Immediately after the the election, he took a private jet to the Mediterranean Sea and went cruising on an extravagant Maltese yacht (it was 60 meters long and the estimated cost of a one-week rental was €200,000=¥32,400,000), which was criticized as being too extravagant by opposition parties.

He responded by saying, "What's the problem? I won't run from it, hide, or apologize."

Despite being criticized for the aforementioned partying,  he created a landmark staff unheard of in France by selecting Rachida Dati, a member of the judicial affairs staff who had been born in the Maghreb (a former colony) to be Minister of Justice, selecting a Senegal-born black woman as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, and choosing politicians from the opposing Socialist party for his cabinet members (Éric Besson and Bernard Kouchner).

There was a mass resignation of the vice-ministerial staff leadership in the Ministry of Justice, which  impeded work, but North American media praised his choices as a revolutionary opening of France's insular interior.

He also had a record-breaking 70% approval rating from citizens.

In the French parliamentary elections in June 2007, his party, the Union for a Popular Movement part (UMP) won a landslide victory, and the Japanese weekly magazine "The Economist" described him as the "French Junichiro Koizumi."

In October of that year, the office of the president announced their intention to more than double what Sarkozy was being paid at the time.

The ruling Union for a Popular Movement party explained that this was because the president was making less than other cabinet posts, but criticism from opponents of Sarkozy's revolution continued to grow and the pay increase was controversial.

Assemblyman Bianco of the Socialist Party criticized it by asking if it was a good thing to do when many citizens were struggling with their expenses at the end of the month.

Sarkozy ran in the 2012 French presidential election, but suffered a loss to François Hollande in the final election, and left the office of Sixth President of the Fifth French Republic on May 15, 2012.

Questions arose over if Sarkozy had illegally received money from a female millionaire during the 2007 presidential election, and he was formally charged by Bordeaux  authorities.

Opinions and Policies

Basic Policies

He repaired relations with the United States, which had cooled as a result of the Chirac Administration's opposition to the Iraq War, abandoned France's traditional egalitarianism, and advocated a path of American and British-style neoliberal economic policies that placed importance on free competition.

His slogan  was "Work more to earn more."

The Sarkozy Administration was a departure from the mainline conservative de Gaullism particular to France, which aimed for a foreign policy separating it from America and intervening assertively in domestic policy.

Foreign Policy

The United States of America

His foreign policy stance was often seen as being pro-American, but the Chirac Administration, which had refused to follow America's lead, had pushed for Prime Minister de Villepin to be the successor, so there was conspicuous discord between Sarkozy, when he was the Minister of the Interior gunning for the presidency, and Chirac and de Villepin.

In August 2007, he was invited to the American President Bush's villa and they came to an agreement on the Iraq War, which they had been in disagreement over.

He stressed his pro-America sentiment.

However, in 2008, he actively criticized the United States, having harsh words for America's diplomatic policies when the Russia–Georgia war broke out and blaming the US for the worsening financial crisis.

Japan

Unlike Chirac, who had been known for being pro-Japan, Sarkozy said many things that seemed to indicate he had contempt Japanese culture.

 In January 2004 when he was visiting the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, he made statements deriding Japan: "Hong Kong is a charming city, but it was hard to breathe in Tokyo. The Imperial Palace in Kyoto has gone to seed. Even famous gardens feel gloomy," and "What's so fascinating about fat men with ponytails fighting each other? Sumo wresting is not a sport for intellectuals."

Sarkozy himself had had no ties to Japan prior to becoming president, so it may be that he spoke the way he did to put himself in opposition to Chirac's pro-Japan stance.

On the other hand, in regards to foreign policy, he often kept up traditional Franco-Japanese relations, such as supporting Japan for a permanent membership in the Security Council of the United Nations numerous times.

Libya

Right after being elected president, he set out a "human rights diplomacy" and made clear his objection to oppressive regimes, but afterwards, he approved of the visit of Libya's General Gaddafi's, a known dictator, to France, for which he was criticized by both French citizens and opposition parties.

Sarkozy himself explained this by saying that they had touched on human rights during the meeting.

China

He was criticized by opposing parties for a state visit from China, which, like Libya, is surrounded by human rights issues, because the minister in charge of human rights did not attend and they did not touch on China's human rights issues or on democratization.

Foreign Minister Kouchner, who was well known for his pro-human rights stance, did not accompany him to these meetings or on state visits.

In December 2008, he met with the highest lama in Tibetan Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama in Gdańsk in the northern part of Poland and stated that "the Dalai Lama explained that he wasn't seeking Tibetan independence. I would recommend a dialogue with the Chinese authorities."

The Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency criticized this in a comment on the 6th by saying  it was impudent and not only injured the feelings of Chinese citizens, but damaged Sino-French relations.

In response tp China's objections, Sarkozy emphasized that as the French president, he had both freedom and convictions, and had not intended to raise tensions.

He said that China should react calmly, and that the world wanted China to be more open and China needed European investment.

The Middle East

He is also known for his Israel-friendly stance. In the spring of 2007 during the presidential elections, he advocated for the creation of a "Union for the Mediterranean," but the surrounding countries such as in northern Africa, Turkey, Germany, were very cautious for various reasons.

Israel invaded Gaza in December 2008, and in order to encourage a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, he himself went to Israel to negotiate a ceasefire.

However, the United States, which is staunchly pro-Israel, supported continued attacks, and Israel continued to refuse a ceasefire.

Hamas insisted on a lifting of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip as a condition for a ceasefire, for which Sarkozy was criticized.

Domestic Policy

Proposal to Reform the Constitutional

On July 21, 2008, parliament passed the constitutional reforms that Sarkozy had made a campaign pledge during the 2007 presidential election by only one vote.

The reforms incorporated proposals to strengthen parliament, such as limiting the president to two terms and giving them the right to veto presidential appointments.

Economic Policy

After the August 2007 parliamentary elections, parliament passed the tax reductions that Sarkozy had promised during the 2007 presidential election.

The bill placed economic growth ahead of reducing the deficit, and included measures such as lowering income taxes.

The member nations of the European Union (EU) had been requested to balance their budges by 2010, but because of the drop off in revenue from the tax cuts, it was taking longer to reduce the deficit, and Sarkozy put off balancing the budget until 2012.

When the financial crisis brought about by the subprime loan problem was in full swing and the world economy was taking serious damage, Sarkozy, as EU Council president, took initiative to counter the crisis directly.

There was a meeting on October 18, 2008 between him, American president George W. Bush, the president of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, and they decided to hold a financial summit (G20) that would include the heads of developed nations and developing nations such as China and India.

Directly before the summit held on November 13, Sarkozy said "the dollar is no longer a reserve currency," and that it was necessary to establish a Bretton Woods system.

At the first G20 summit in Washington DC, he responded to the then-Prime Minister Taro Aso's comments by saying that there was no reason for the dollar to be the reserve currency and that it was impossible in the 21st century to follow a financial system that had been established in the 20th century. When Aso questioned him on if he had any preparations in that case for collateral against further damage to developing countries should the dollar plummet, he shot him down by saying "We have no such plans."

The summit was held on November 14th and 15th (local time), although Sarkozy wanted stronger regulation of financial institutions and a joint declaration, twelve out of the of the fifteen items Japan presented made it into the agreement, and Aso's proposal was used consistently as base for action around the world.

He called for a 26 billion Euro economic stimulus measure in France that included public investments such as construction of a high-speed rail and support measures for the automotive industry.

Immigration Policy

He had a certain amount of popularity due to his firm stance.

His approval rate was especially high with people aged 70 and up.

He observed that areas where many immigrants lived had unstable public order and caused a lot of waves by referring to those people as "scum" and "thugs."

This is seen as being one of the causes of the intensification of youth violence that was occurring all over France.

However, he maintained his stance and seemed to disregard being showered with criticism by increasing his strong rhetoric.

Perhaps because he was a second-generation immigrant, he had a tendency to stand firm behind his harsh words on immigrants, and he became a hated figure amongst the youth who had rioted and those who supported them in spirit.

He stressed that "I am not anti-immigrant, like (National Front) party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.  This country needs high-level immigrants," and called for an affirmative action for university admissions in order to give all races a fair chance.

Establishing a French Identity

In 2009, Sarkozy raised the question of how to impress upon immigrants both what it meant to be French and French values, and called upon the people to discuss those two points.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Immigration ordered discussion meetings to be held in 450 locations all over France, and requested the direct participation of the people in the discussion.

Sarkozy placed the discussion as "a lofty action to know what France is," but there was skepticism even from the ruling party supporting Sarkozy, such as Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin pointing out that it wasn't the time to broach such a serious theme in the midst of a financial crisis.

Alain Juppé, also from the same party, pointed out that the discussion was in opposition to what the country was and would create animosity, especially towards Muslims.

Energy Policy

The main pillar of his energy policy was nuclear energy, and even after the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that caused discussions about rethinking nuclear all over the world, the administration did not reevaluate using nuclear, but rather took the standpoint that safety standards should be strengthened.

He judged that even renewable energy, which has been increasing in use in recent years, would not be able to replace nuclear.

He clarified his position regarding the accident at Fukushima by saying that aside from technological support from Areva, there should be discussion at G8 about creating international standards and safety measures for nuclear.

On March 31, 2011, he visited Japan and had a meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and stressed that there should be international safety standards,

Character

Personality

He is shorter than the average Frenchman (the average height for a French man is 175.6cm), so much that he's said to be "shorter than Napoleon" (Sarkozy is around 163 cm and always wears elevator shoes.)

Because of that, on "Les Guignols de l'info" on the the French premium pay television channel Canal+, the doll of the then-president Chirac called the Sarkozy doll "Schtroumpf" (Smurf).

He abhors cigarettes and does not even drink wine.

He likes chocolate.

He's said to be pro-America and pro-Britain, but he is not good at English and when he was a student, as mentioned above, he flunked out of school twice because of English.

In contrast, the former president Chirac was said to have been better at English, but avoided speaking in front of people.

In October 2008, a Canadian comedian impersonated Sarkozy by putting on a French accent and had a "conversation" with Sarah Palin.

With his origins as a second-generation immigrant who had graduated from the University of Paris and become a lawyer, he was strongly viewed as being "for the people" in a French political world dominated by bureaucratic politicians from the ENA, which groomed high-level bureaucrats.

He liked to use simple and frank expressions that were easy for people to understand in his speeches and talking as a way of directly engaging with the people.

Personal Life

He married three times, and has four children altogether: two sons with his first wife Marie, one son with his second wife Cécilia (b. 1957), and a daughter with his current wife Carla (b. December 23, 1967).

His first wife, Marie, was the daughter of a pharmacist from a sleepy village in Corsica. They married in 1982 and had two boys, Pierre and Jean.

His next wife, Cécilia, was the great-granddaughter of composer Isaac Albéniz, and worked as a model and a parliamentary assistant, and was married to a television host, with whom she has two daughters.

He and Cécilia had an affair with each other while they were both still married, and wed in 1996.

Their son Louis was born in 1998.

Sarkozy was very good to Cécilia, and had a place for her in the ministry of the interior.

However, in 2005, Cécilia ran off to New york with of his industrialist supporters.

De Villepin, the then prime minister, sarcastically said that if Sarkozy couldn't charm his wife, he wouldn't be able to charm the electorate.

The pair reconciled in 2006, but Cécilia refused to become first lady.

As a result, they divorced in October 2007.

In January 2008, he got married for the third time, to Carla Bruni, a former top model and singer.

Their daughter was born on October 19, 2011.

Gaffes

"Scum" - In October 2005 before the presidential elections, about the rioters when riots broke out in Paris.

"Get lost, then, asshole." - On February 23, 2008, he was shaking hands with visitors who had come to the  Paris International Agricultural Show, and one man refused to shake his hand, saying, "Don't touch me."

"It's fat men with ponytails. It's not a sport you could call pretty." - May 2007, about Japanese sumo wrestling.

In response to that, the Japan Sumo Association abolished the "French Presidential Cup."

Criticism

Philosopher Alain Badiou criticized him by saying that "Sarkozy" is  a symptom of a new politics of fear, and "With this very miniature Napoleon, and faced with the internal perils made real by fear, the state ends up taking the one-sided form that Genet previously gave it in his play 'The Balcony,' that of the police chief whose dream costume is a gigantic rubber penis."

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