Nicolas Sarkozy is a former President of France who served from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that, he held a number of political offices, beginning as a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He was then elected mayor, a position he held for nearly two decades. He ascended the political ladder more quickly than his peers due to his personal appeal and political ingenuity. During the administration of Jacques Chirac, he served as Minister of the Interior and Finance before becoming the leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). He was the front-runner in the 2007 presidential elections, defeating Socialist leader Segelone Royal. During his reign, he brought about several improvements, including the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States. Interestingly, unlike his forefathers, he was the first to aggressively participate in domestic affairs, putting an end to Napoleon’s Bastille Day custom, which began in 1802. Sarkozy has received various medals, including the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and the Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit from France. Continue reading to learn more about his life and career.
Childhood and Adolescence
Nicolas Sarkozy was born to Greek and Hungarian immigrants as Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa. When Nicolas was a toddler, his father, Pal Istvan Erno Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa, abandoned the family. Nicolas’ paternal grandfather, who was raised as a Catholic by his grandparents, had a strong influence on his personality and moulded much of who he was. As a child, he was filled with animosity because of his father’s absence and the feeling of being inferior to his wealthy classmates.
He attended the private Catholic school Cours Saint-Louis de Monceau, despite his dismal academic performance. He enrolled in the Universite Paris X Nanterre in 1973 after receiving his baccalaureat. He earned an MA and then a DEA in private and business law, specializing in both. He became active in politics throughout his time at university. He was a staunch supporter of a right-wing student organization and actively participated in its operations.
Career in Politics
His political career began when he was 23 years old, when he was elected to the Neuilly-sur-Seine local council. He was promoted to Mayor Achille Peretti’s position after the latter’s death. From 1983 until 2002, he served as Mayor for over two decades. In the meanwhile, he was elected to the National Assembly as a deputy in 1988. He was the Minister of the Budget for Prime Minister Edouard Balladur from 1993 to 1995.Sarkozy backed Edouard Balladur against Jacques Chirac in the 1995 presidential election. As a result of Chirac’s electoral victory, Sarkozy lost his job as Minister of Finance.
Following the right-wing setback in the 1997 legislative election, he returned to activity as the Rally for the Republic’s number two candidate after a two-year sabbatical (RPR). In 1999, he was elected President of the RPR, but his party did poorly in the European Parliament elections that year, and Sarkozy was forced to resign. In 2002, under the leadership of Jacques Chirac, his political career was resurrected when he was appointed to the Cabinet and granted the title of Minister of the Interior. He was appointed Minister of Finance in a cabinet reshuffle two years later.
Later in 2004, he resigned from the newly-assigned Finance Ministry to become the leader of the UMP, a position he won with 85 percent of the vote. He was re-elected to the National Assembly the following year. He was appointed Minister of the Interior in Dominique Villepin’s government in 2005. His presidency was marred by controversy. He wanted to reduce the tensions that existed between the French and the Muslim community. The Paris riots took place during his reign as well.
He expressed his opinion loudly as the leader of the UMP, insisting on drastic changes in France’s social and economic policy. He advocated for fairer taxation policy, a smaller budget deficit, and less support for those who are deliberately unemployed. In the 2007 presidential elections, he was selected as the UMP’s preferred candidate for the presidency. He won the second round of voting against Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, receiving 53 percent of the vote.
On May 6, 2007, he was sworn in as President of the United States. As a result, he became France’s 23rd President.
He was sworn in as President on May 16, 2007. 15 Ministers and 16 Deputy Ministers made up his government. During his time in government, he focused on international policy and sought to strengthen France’s ties with other nations. He began his new job by attempting to mediate the tensions between France and Colombian President lvaro Uribe, as well as the left-wing guerrilla group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, in order to free hostages, notably Ingrid Betancourt.
In July 2007, he reported that France had successfully negotiated the release of six Bulgarian nurses who had been jailed in Libya for eight years in exchange for signing a security, health-care, and immigration agreement with Muammar Gaddafi, together with other European governments. Opposition leaders, on the other hand, chastised him for this move.
In contrast to his international actions, he was praised for his environmental programs. He stated the goal of lowering French CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 at the 33rd G8 summit. In contrast to his predecessors, who placed little attention on home concerns, the Prime Minister’s principal domain, he focused on domestic issues and proposed new and promising reforms. He cut taxes in order to boost GDP, and he also passed the TEPA statute.
During his reign, the immigration agency was subjected to increased scrutiny, as a new program known as Parafes was implemented, requiring every visitor to register his or her fingerprints at airports. This database would be linked to criminal justice and national security databases, allowing them to track down criminals and unwelcome visitors.
The Bastille Day tradition, which began in 1802 with Napolean, came to an abrupt halt when he resisted the normal practice of pardoning sentences followed by the release of some criminals from prison.
He enacted constitutional revisions in 2008, including a two-term restriction on the presidency and the elimination of the president’s ability to collective pardon. He also created agendas that ended the government’s authority over the committee system in parliament. He also changed the economic policy by relaxing the work hour regulation and making hours worked after the conventional French 35-hour week tax-free. Following the financial crisis of 2008, he declared the end of market tyranny and laissez-faire capitalism.
In 2009, he teamed up with Egyptian ex-President Hosni Mubarak to propose a plan that called for a Gaza Strip ceasefire. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, praised the initiative, claiming that it would provide true security. He was one of the first heads of state to urge Muammar Gaddafi’s resignation and impose military action in Libya in 2011. He also imposed a no-fly zone and promised the Libyan National Transitional Council French military support. He received widespread support for the move, including from major parties.
He was one of ten candidates that won the first round of voting in the presidential elections the following year, in 2012. However, he was defeated by Socialist leader Francois Hollande, who received 51.62 percent of the vote to his 48.38 percent. Surprisingly, he did not take his defeat personally and instead endorsed the appointment of Fancois Hollande. On May 15, 2012, he formally resigned as President of the United States.
Achievements & Awards
He was awarded the Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2004, and when he became President of France in 2007, he was upgraded to Grand Cross Legion of Honor. He was also awarded the Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit at the same time. Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Georgia, Italy, Holy See, Monaco, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom are among the countries that have honored him with honorary awards and decorations.
Personal History and Legacy
On September 23, 1982, he married Marie Dominique Culioli, and the wedding bells first sounded for him. Pierre and Jean, the couple’s two children, were born to them. They divorced legally in 1996 after years of separation. He married Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz for the second time in 1996. Loius, their son, was born the next year. The partnership, which had been sailing nicely, went through a rough patch when both Cecilia and he had extramarital encounters, leading to their divorce in 2007. He married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer, for the third time in 2008. In 2011, she gave birth to Giulia, his daughter.
Estimated Net Worth
Nicolas Sarkozy is a French politician with a $4 million net worth. He is most famous for being President of France from 2007 to 2012, when he was defeated by Socialist contender François Hollande. After that, he spent several years in politics before resigning from public service. He could not, however, fully avoid the spotlight, as he was eventually charged with multiple counts of corruption by French authorities. He was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to prison in 2021.
This former French President put an end to Napoleon’s 1802 Bastille Day practice, in which the President pardoned and released some convicts on the day to commemorate the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.