(b. 28 Jan. 1955).
French President 2007– Born in Paris as the son of a French mother and a father who had immigrated from Hungary, he studied at Sciences Po university and became a lawyer. He entered local politics, served as a member of the European Parliament, and in 1988 was elected to the National Assembly. Sarkozy's straight-talking, populist style and his political cunning threatened Chirac, who sought to neutralize him by giving him the difficult portfolios of Interior Minister in 2002, and Finance Minister in 2004. Sarkozy's popularity increased further, however, not least through his tough stance on immigrants. Chirac was thus unable to stop him becoming president of the UMP in 2004. Sarkozy subsequently resigned from ministerial office and concentrated on establishing control of the party, which acclaimed him as its presidential candidate with near unanimity.
Having been elected with a clear majority of the votes, Sarkozy's administration granted self-government to universities, rendered labour laws more flexible, and initiated public-sector reform. He minimized opposition to these policies by consulting with, and thus dividing, his opposition. Sarkozy conducted an assertive foreign policy, hoping to inspire the EU through his leadership.
Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).