Nicolas Sarkozy

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Posted by motoman 03/02/2009 @ 09:39

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Sarkozy's Draconian downloading law to pass, then die - ZDNet
Much as Dick Cheney cemented his reputation as Vice President of Torture, France's Nicolas Sarkozy is digging himself in as the Draconian President, seeing as how the European Parliament passed a resolution barring just this sort of Big Government...
Protests in France Spread to Hospital Workers - New York Times
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH PARIS — In a further sign of discontent with President Nicolas Sarkozy's legislative program two years into his mandate, hospital workers took to the streets of France on Thursday to show their anger over government policy,...
Sarkozy and Bruni 'could move into Mick Jagger's building' - Press Trust of India
London, May 14 (PTI) Speculation is rife that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni could soon move into a flat in the same building in Paris, where her old flame Mick Jagger owns an apartment. In fact the speculation is fuelled by...
Sarkozy To Consult Unions On How To Distribute Wealth - Wall Street Journal
PARIS (Dow Jones)--French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday asked unions to come up with proposals by July 15 on new ways of distributing the country's wealth. Earlier Wednesday, Sarkozy received a report he commissioned in February from the head of...
Gruevski, Sarkozy meet in Paris - Makfax
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will host a meeting with the Macedonia Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Paris on Friday. The meeting, initially scheduled for yesterday, was postponed due to malfunction of the computer and radar systems on board the...
GOOD MORNING--TURKEY PRESS SCAN ON MAY 15 - Hürriyet
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently paying a state visit to Poland , criticized President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over their recent negative statements regarding Turkey 's EU membership process....
DIARY-France to June 12 - Reuters
PARIS - President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Prime Minister of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski (1400 GMT). -----------------Friday May 15, 2009---------------------------- PARIS - President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Pakistani President...
French Court Rules In Favor Of Strip-searched Journalist - NASDAQ
Shortly after the arrest, President Nicolas Sarkozy said he wanted to scrap the post of investigating judge, who wields strong powers and can order police to execute a summons, as was the case for the Liberation journalist....
Sarkozy to hold talks with Pakistani president - Earthtimes (press release)
Paris - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Paris Friday for informal talks with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy. According to Sarkozy's office, the two leaders were to discuss the political situation in Pakistan and in the region....
Future of Iamgold project remains uncertain - Calgary Herald
Iamgold Corp. says it is making progress on development of its Camp Caiman project more than a year after French President Nicolas Sarkozy personally scuttled it. However, its future is still in serious question. The project, based in French Guiana,...

Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy with both bush presidents.jpg

Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), was elected President in May 2007, and became the sixth President of the French Fifth Republic on May 16, 2007. He nominated François Fillon as Prime minister, who formed a composite government, a bit modified following the UMP's relative victory during the June legislative election.

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 Nicolas Sarkozy was given the nuclear codes of the French nuclear arsenal and presented with the Grand Master's Collar, symbol of his new function of Grand Master of the Legion of Honour. At that point, he formally became president. Leyenda, by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz was played in honour of the president's wife. Both Sarkozy's mother Andrée, and his formerly estranged father Pal — with whom Sarkozy had reached a reconciliation — attended the ceremony, as did Sarkozy's children. The presidential motorcade, with the President on board the presidential Peugeot 607 Paladine, then travelled from the Élysée to the Champs-Élysées for a public ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. Then the new president went to the Cascade du Bois de Boulogne of Paris for a homage to the French Resistance and to the Communist resistant Guy Moquet — he proposed that all high-school students read Guy Moquet's last letter to his parents, which was criticized by a number of leftists as a cynical form of reappropriation of French history by the right .

In the afternoon, the new president flew to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was replaced by François Fillon. Sarkozy appointed Bernard Kouchner, the left-wing founder of Médecins 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, only two attended the elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) .. The ministers were reorganized, with the controversed 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.

Shortly after taking office, President 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. .

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 Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts — and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILAN antitank missile sale . 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) criticized a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state" . The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation .

Additionally, President Sarkozy pledged to sell Libya three civil nuclear power stations as part of a package of trade and assistance that will boost the role of French companies in the oil-rich country. During his visit to Libya on July 25, 2007, Sarkozy signed an agreement of cooperation on civil nuclear technology. He decided to build three civil nuclear power stations to the Libyan state . According to Paris, the nuclear power stations are meant for desalinization of sea water , but Le Monde has pointed out that the Libyans quickly bypassed any reference to desalinization . This deal was criticized by the French left-wing and also by German governmental sources, including Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler, Greens leader Reinhard Buetikofer and SPD deputy Ulrich Kelber . And during Tony Blair's visit end of May 2007, the British group BP signed a natural gas contract for 900 million dollars .

Furthermore, Le Parisien alleged on 13 August 2007 that the agreement concerning nuclear technologies did not concern desalinization of sea water, but focused on particular on the ERP third-generation nuclear reactor, of a worth of $3 billion . The Parisian newspaper cited Philippe Delaune, the deputy of the deputy director of international affairs of the CEA atomic agency, which is the main share-holder of Areva, the firm which products ERP reactors . Although the French President denied any relationship between the deal with Areva and the liberation of the Six, Le Parisien points out a troubling chronology: Areva was called to present its products to Libya end of June 2007, a short time before the release of the Six . The French Socialist Party, through the voice of Jean-Louis Bianco, declared that this deal was "geopolitically irresponsible. " The German government also denounced the agreement. Through Siemens, they detain 34% of the shares of Areva's subsidiary in charge of building the ERP (Areva NP) .

These informations from Le Parisien were immediately denied by Areva . Areva's spokeman did admit that negotiations had taken place early June 2007, but that no particular technology transfer had been agreed upon . Furthermore, Philippe Delaune, the CEA's spokeman, added that in any case, any transfer concerning the ERP technology would take at least ten or fifteen years .

While Areva did admit that general negotiations had taken place, Nicolas Sarkozy formally dismissed all of the story, claiming it was "false. " Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov also claimed that the arms and nuclear agreements were not related to the release of the nurses .

Sarkozy said March 14, 2008 he won "unanimous" backing for his plan to forge closer political ties with Europe's North African and Mideast neighbors on the Mediterranean Sea. The agreement came at the end of the first day of a two-day EU summit..

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

The 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, approved one of Sarkozy's electoral promise, which was to quasi-suppress the inheritance tax. The inheritance tax used to bring eight billion euros into state coffers.

Fillon's government issued a decree on 7 August, 2007 to generalize a voluntary biometric profiling program of travellers in airports. The program, called Parafes, was to use fingerprints. The new database would be interconnected with the Schengen Information System (SIS) as well as with a national database of wanted persons (FPR). The CNIL protested against this new decree, opposing itself to the recording of fingerprints and to the interconnection between the SIS and the FPR .

In November 2007, Sarkozy will face his first real domestic test when workers from the public sector will go on strike to protest his domestic reform policies.

Sarkozy then went in vacation to the United States, taking his family to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. He was expected to stay in the 11-bathroom shorefront mansion of former Microsoft executive Michael Appe . However, he interrupted his vacation for a one-day trip to France after the death of Cardinal Lustiger, former archbishop of Paris, whose funeral he was to attend .

He then visited President George W. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Sarkozy's conservative party braced for a possible setback as voting got under way in March 16, 2008 local elections which was seen as the new conservative leader's first electoral test and a barometer of the strength of his Union for a Popular Movement-party, which was hoping to hang on Marseille and Toulouse. Ten months after his election, France's economy remains sluggish and Sarkozy had backed off from many of the sweeping reforms that he promised on the campaign trail. A UMP loss March 16, 2008 could weaken Sarkozy's bid to live up to his promises of economic, social and institutional reforms. The municipal elections coincide with a recent plunge in Sarkozy's popularity. His ratings steadily slipped in the wake of a series of angry public outbursts, a widely publicized divorce, and a quick courtship and marriage to former model and singer Carla Bruni. The first round French municipal elections, 2008 on March 9, 2008 gave the rival Socialist Party a modest lead: 47.5 percent of the vote compared with 44.4 percent for the UMP.

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Nicolas Sarkozy

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

Nicolas Sarkozy (pronounced (help·info), born Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa on 28 January 1955 in the 17th arrondissement of Paris) is the 23rd President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal ten days earlier.

Before his presidency, he was leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) centre-right party. 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).

Nicolas 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 was also Minister of the Budget in Édouard Balladur (RPR, predecessor of the UMP)'s government during François Mitterrand's last term.

Sarkozy is known for his strong stance on law and order issues and his desire to revitalise the French economy. In foreign affairs, he has promised closer cooperation with the United States and a strengthening of the entente cordiale. His nickname "Sarko" is used by both supporters and opponents alike.

Nicolas Sarkozy is the son of an aristocratic Hungarian immigrant father, Pál Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (Hungarian: nagybócsai Sárközy Pál; some sources spell it Nagy-Bócsay Sárközy Pál; Hungarian pronunciation (help·info) ), and a mother of French Catholic and Greek-Sephardic Jewish descent, Andrée Mallah. His Greek-born grandfather, Benico Mallah (former Aaron Mallah), was a physician from Thessaloniki. Benico, who left for France to become a doctor, was the son of Mordechai Mallah, one of the eight sons of Aaron Mallah, founder of the Rabbinical School of Thessaloniki.

Pál Sárközy was born in 1928 in Budapest into a family belonging to the lower nobility of Hungary. The family possessed lands and a small castle in the village of Alattyán, near Szolnok, 92 km (57 miles) east of Budapest. Pál Sárközy's father and grandfather held elective offices in the town of Szolnok. Although the Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (nagybócsai Sárközy) family was Protestant, Pál Sárközy's mother, Katalin Tóth de Csáford (Hungarian: csáfordi Tóth Katalin), grandmother of Nicolas Sarkozy, was from a Catholic aristocratic family.

As the Red Army entered Hungary in 1944, the Sárközy family fled to Germany. They returned in 1945 but all their possessions had been seized. Pál Sárközy's father died soon afterwards and his mother, fearing that he would be drafted into the Hungarian People's Army or sent to Siberia, urged him to leave the country and promised she would eventually follow him and meet him in Paris. Pál Sárközy managed to flee to Austria and then Germany while his mother reported to authorities that he had drowned in Lake Balaton. Eventually, he arrived in Baden Baden, near the French border, where the headquarters of the French Army in Germany were located, and there he met a recruiter for the French Foreign Legion. He signed up for five years, and was sent for training to Sidi Bel Abbes, in French Algeria, where the French Foreign Legion's headquarters were located. He was due to be sent to Indochina at the end of training, but the doctor who checked him before departure, who happened to also be Hungarian, sympathised with him and gave him a medical discharge to save him from possible death at the hands of the Vietminh. He returned to civilian life in Marseille in 1948 and, although he asked for French citizenship only in the 1970s (his legal status was that of a stateless person until then), he nonetheless gallicised his Hungarian name into "Paul Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa". He met Andrée Mallah, Nicolas Sarkozy's mother (known as Dadu), in 1949.

Andrée Mallah, then a law student, was the daughter of Benedict Mallah, a wealthy urologist and STD specialist with a well-established reputation in the mainly bourgeois 17th arrondissement of Paris. Benedict Mallah, originally named Aaron Mallah (and nicknamed Benico), was born in 1890 in the Sephardic Jewish community of (modern day Thessaloniki, Greece). The family had originally been from Spain, then resettled in Provence, southern France, and later moved to Salonica into the Jewish community established there by other Spanish expellees victims of the Spanish Inquisition. Benico Mallah, the son of jeweller Mordechai Mallah and Reyna Magriso, left Salonica, then still part of the Ottoman Empire, with his mother in 1904 at the age of 14 to attend the prestigious Lycée Lakanal boarding school of Sceaux, in the southern suburbs of Paris. He studied medicine after his baccalaureate and decided to stay in France and become a French citizen. A doctor in the French Army during World War I, he met a recent war widow, Adèle Bouvier (1891–1956), from a bourgeois family of Lyon, whom he married in 1917. Adèle Bouvier, Nicolas Sarkozy's grandmother, was a Catholic like the majority of French people. Mallah, for whom religion had reportedly never been a central issue, converted to Catholicism upon marrying Adèle Bouvier, which had been requested by Adèle's parents, and changed his name to Benedict. Although Benedict Mallah converted to Catholicism, he and his family nonetheless had to flee Paris and take refuge in a small farm in Corrèze during World War II to avoid being arrested and delivered to the Germans. During the Holocaust, many of the Mallahs who stayed in Salonica or moved to France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. In total, 57 family members were murdered by the Nazis.

Paul Sarkozy and Andrée Mallah settled in the 17th arrondissement of Paris and had three sons: Guillaume, born in 1951, who is an entrepreneur in the textile industry and former n°2 of the MEDEF; Nicolas, born in 1955; and François, born in 1957 (an MBA and manager of a healthcare consultancy company ). In 1959, Paul Sarkozy left his wife and his three children. He later remarried three times and had two more children. His third wife, Christine de Ganay, married a US ambassador Frank G. Wisner.

Olivier Sarkozy, his half-brother, was chosen by the Carlyle Group, in March 2008, as co-head and managing director of its recently launched global financial services division.

Ancestors of Nicolas Sarkozy in three generations.

During Sarkozy's childhood, his father refused to give his former wife's family any financial help, even though he had founded his own advertising agency and had become wealthy. The family lived in a small mansion owned by Sarkozy's grandfather, Benedict Mallah, in the 17th Arrondissement. 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 in the Catholic faith of his household. Nicolas Sarkozy, like his brothers, is a baptised and professing Catholic. Sarkozy also said recently that one of his role models was the late pope John Paul II.

Sarkozy's father Paul did not teach him or his brothers Hungarian. There is no evidence suggesting that there was an attempt to educate the Sarkozy siblings about their paternal ethnic background.

Sarkozy has said that having been abandoned by his father shaped much of who he is today. As a young boy and teenager, he felt inferior in relation to his wealthier classmates. He suffered from insecurities (his physical shortness of 1.65 m, 5 feet 5 inches, or his family's lack of money, at least relatively to their 17th Arrondissement or Neuilly neighbours), and is said to have harboured a considerable amount of resentment against his absent father. "What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood", he said later.

Sarkozy was enrolled in the Lycée Chaptal, a state-funded (public) middle and high school in Paris's 8th arrondissement, where he failed his sixième (6th grade). 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 pupil, but where he nonetheless obtained his baccalauréat in 1973. He enrolled at the Université Paris X Nanterre, where he graduated with a Master 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 organisation where he was very active. He completed his military service as a part time Air Force cleaner. . After graduating, he entered the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (1979-1981) but failed to graduate due to an insufficient command of the English language. After passing the bar, he became a lawyer specializing in business law and family law.

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) and Jean (born in 1987). Sarkozy's marriage witness was the prominent right wing politician Charles Pasqua, later to become a political opponent. Sarkozy divorced Culioli in 1996, although they had already been separated for several years.

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 of a Russian father), when he officiated at her wedding 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. 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. On 25 May 2005, however, the Swiss newspaper Le Matin revealed that she had left Sarkozy for French-Moroccan national Richard Attias, head of Publicis in New York. There were other accusations of a private nature in Le Matin, which led to Sarkozy suing the paper. In the meantime, he was said to have had an affair with a journalist of Le Figaro, Anne Fulda.

Sarkozy and Cécilia ultimately divorced on 15 October 2007.

Sarkozy met singer and former model Carla Bruni at a dinner party in November 2007 and soon entered a relationship with her. They married on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

Sarkozy declared to the Constitutional Council a net worth of €2 million, most of the assets being in the form of life insurance policies. As the French President, he earns a yearly salary of € 101,000 and is entitled to a mayoral pension as a former mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine. He also receives a yearly council pension as a former member of the council of the Hauts-de-Seine department. Sarkozy's salary will more than double to € 240,000 as a result of an amendment to the 2008 budget.

Sarkozy is recognised by the right and left as a skilled politician and striking orator. His supporters within France emphasize his charisma, political innovation and willingness to "make a dramatic break" amid mounting disaffection against "politics as usual"; some see him as wanting to depart from traditional French social and economic principles in favour of American-style economic reform. Overall, he is considered more pro-U.S. 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 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 guise he created the CFCM, French Council of Muslim Faith). Previously, he was a deputy to the French 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.

Sarkozy's political career began at 22 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 organise his campaign. Instead Sarkozy profited from a short illness of Pasqua to propel himself into the office of mayor. He was the youngest ever 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. 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.

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 except his predecessor, by the equivalent of €200 billion ($260 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 6% of GDP. According to the Maastricht Treaty, the French yearly budget deficit may not be bigger than 3% of France's GDP.

In 1995, he spurned Chirac and backed 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.

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 Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, despite Sarkozy's support of Edouard Balladur for French President in 1995. Following Jacques 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 31 March 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 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, 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.

Towards the end of his first term as Minister of the Interior, in 2004, Sarkozy was the most popular and also the most unpopular conservative politician in France, according to polls conducted at the beginning of 2004. His "tough on crime" policies, which included increasing the police presence on the streets and introducing monthly crime performance ratings, were popular with many and unpopular for many others.

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 felt that the foundation of such an organisation was desirable. He 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. 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 so that they are less reliant on money from outside of France.

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.

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") in Argenteuil near Paris. 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.

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.

Before he was elected French President, Sarkozy was president of UMP, the French conservative party, elected with 85% 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.

Such policies are what are called in France libéral (that is, in favour of laissez-faire economic policies, although this judgment is made by French standards) or, with a pejorative undertone, ultra-libéral. Sarkozy rejects this label of libéral and prefers to call himself a pragmatist instead. Besides his dirigisme on economical subjects is far from laissez-faire politics.

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.

It became increasingly apparent that Sarkozy would go on to seek 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".

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

In February 2007 Sarkozy appeared on a televised debate on TF1 where he expressed his support for affirmative action for minorities 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 has been voted in July 2007.

On 7 February, Nicolas Sarkozy decided in favour of a projected second, non-nuclear, aircraft 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.

On 21 March, President Jacques Chirac announced his support for Sarkozy, adding that he had his vote. 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.

During the campaign, rival candidates had accused Sarkozy of being a "candidate for brutality" and of presenting overly hardline views about France's future. He was also criticised by opponents for allegedly 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.

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 and presented with the Grand Master's Collar, symbol of his new function of Grand Master of the Legion of Honour. Leyenda, by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz was played in honour of the president's wife, who is Albeniz's great-granddaughter. Both Sarkozy's mother Andrée, who sat on a regal chair, and his formerly estranged father Pal – with whom Sarkozy had reached a reconciliation – attended the ceremony, as did Sarkozy's children. The presidential motorcade, with the President on board the presidential Peugeot 607 Paladine, then travelled from the Élysée to the Champs-Élysées for a public ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. Then the new president went to the Cascade du Bois de Boulogne of Paris for a homage to the French Resistance and to the Communist resistant Guy Môquet – he proposed that all high-school students read Guy Moquet's last letter to his parents, which was criticised by a number of leftists as a cynical form of reappropriation of French history by the right.

In the afternoon, the new President flew to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was replaced by François Fillon. Sarkozy appointed Bernard Kouchner, the left-wing founder of Médecins 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 Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). 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, President 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. 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 Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts – and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILAN antitank missile sale. 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". The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation.

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

The 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. The inheritance tax formerly brought eight billion euros into state coffers.

Sarkozy then went on vacation to the United States, taking his family to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. He stayed in the 11-bathroom shorefront mansion of former Microsoft executive Michael Appe. He was brought there by a commercial jet, however, after the death of Cardinal Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, whose funeral he was to attend, one of his presidential planes flew him on 10 August to Paris and then back to America. On 21 August he returned to France by a commercial jet.

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 database would 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.

On 21 July 2008, the French parliament, with only one vote to spare, passed constitutional reforms which Sarkozy had made one of the key pledges of his presidential campaign. These changes, if finalized, introduce a two-term limit for the presidency, give parliament a veto over some presidential appointments, end government control over parliament's committee system, allow parliament to set its own agenda, allow the president to address parliament in-session, and end the president's right of collective pardon. He has claimed that these reforms strengthen parliament, while some opposition socialist lawmakers have described it as a "consolidation of a monocracy".

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.

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. This reversion to dirigisme is seen as an attempt to stem the growing popularity of revolutionary socialist leader Olivier Besancenot.

France wielded special international power when French President Nicolas Sarkozy held the rotating EU Presidency from July 2008 through December 2008. President 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. This proposal demonstrates Sarkozy's commitment to international collaboration in the face of climate change. In further support of his collaborative outlook on climate change, Sarkozy has led the EU into a partnership with China. On December 6, 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.

On January 5, 2009, French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, called for a ceasefire plan for the Gaza Strip Conflict.. The plan, which is jointly proposed by Sarkozy and Egyptian 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".

Sarkozy was named the 68th best-dressed person in the world by the Vanity Fair magazine, alongside David Beckham and Brad Pitt. Beside publicizing, at times, and at others, refusing to publicise his ex-wife's image, Sarkozy takes care of his own personal image, sometimes to the point of censoring — such as in the Paris Match affair, when he allegedly forced its director to resign following an article on Cécilia and her affair with Publicis executive Richard Attias, or pressures exercised on the Journal du dimanche, which was preparing to publish an article concerning Cécilia's decision not to vote in the second round of the 2007 presidential election. In its 9 August 2007 edition, Paris Match retouched a photo of Sarkozy in order to erase a love handle. His official portrait destined for all French townhalls was done by SIPA photographer Philippe Warrin, better known for his paparazzi work.

Sarkozy, alongside Tony Blair, is part of the inspiration for Mathieu Amalric's portrayal of Dominic Greene, the villain of the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Sarkozy lost a suit against a manufacturer of Sarkozy voodoo dolls, claiming that he had a right to his own image.

Generally speaking, Sarkozy is a bête noire of the Left, and is also criticised by some on the right, most vocally by the supporters of Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin, such as Jean-Louis Debré.

Critics have accused him of being an authoritarian demagogue, ready to trade away civil liberties for political gains. He is also accused by the Left of being a populist who favours far-right ideas.

In the midst of a tense period and following a shooting that killed an 11-year-old boy in the banlieue of La Courneuve in June 2005, Sarkozy quoted a local resident and vowed to clean the area out "with a Kärcher" (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 as voyous (thugs) and racaille, a slang term which can be translated into English as rabble, scum or riff-raff; this was criticised as being inappropriate language.

As Minister of the Interior, Sarkozy has made bold statements following heinous crimes reported in the media. As a consequence, he has been accused in certain cases of failing to respect the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary by trying to apply pressure in certain cases. Most famously, he was criticised, not only by the left-wing Syndicat de la magistrature judges' union, but also by the centrist Union syndicale des magistrats for attacks on the independence of the judiciary.

In September 2005 some youths were acquitted of an arson attack on a police station in Pau for lack of proof and Sarkozy was accused of having pushed for a hasty inquiry – Sarkozy had vowed that the perpetrators would be arrested within three months. On 22 June 2005, he announced to law enforcement officials that he had questioned the Minister of Justice about the future of "the judge" who had freed a man on parole, enabling him to commit a murder.

Sarkozy has personal friendships with some of the most powerful figures in the French business world; for example, Martin Bouygues (from the Bouygues group, owner of the TF1 channel, as well as telecommunications and public works companies) and Bernard Arnault (from LVMH) were his marriage witnesses. His brother, Guillaume, is a senior executive of the MEDEF, the foremost business union in France; in 2005, he renounced running for the top position of that union because he said he did not want to hinder his brother's political career. French presidents have long had links with the business sector, but Sarkozy's have been especially extensive, and especially publicly discussed. His vacation on the yacht of a wealthy industrialist, immediately after his election, drew particular comment, although Sarkozy was unapologetic.

In 2004, he published a book called La République, les religions, l'espérance ("The Republic, Religions, and Hope"), in which he argued that the young should not be brought up solely on secular or republican values. He also advocated reducing the separation of church and state, arguing for the government subsidy of mosques in order to encourage Islamic integration into French society. He flatly 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 classified as a cult (secte translates "cult") in France (see Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France). Sarkozy stated that "the roots of France are essentially Christian" in an attempt to highlight the country's Christian roots at a speech in Rome in December 2007. He also called Islam as "one of the greatest and most beautiful civilizations the world has known" at a speech in Riyadh in January 2008. Both comments drew criticism.

Sarkozy visited Pope Benedict XVI on 20 December 2007, and formally received the title of Honorary Chanoine of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is automatically conferred to each French President. On his visit to the Pope, Sarkozy was accompanied by French comedian Jean-Marie Bigard, was late, and text-messaged during the audience. This behavior has led some people to advance that he is not cultured enough to be in office.

Nicolas Sarkozy disapproved of the US-led invasion of Iraq, but was nonetheless 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." He also 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".

Even though his current 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.

On Friday, 27 July 2007, Sarkozy delivered a speech in Senegal, written by Henri Guaino, in which he made reference to "African peasants" (note that the French word "paysans" can be translated as either "peasants" or as "rural people") and said that colonialism was not the cause of all of Africa's problems, and denied that France had ever exploited an African country.

The remarks were greeted with disappointment and widely condemned by African intellectuals; many, such as Achille Mbembe, Mamadou Diouf or Ibrahima Thioub viewed them not only as racist, but as displaying a deep ignorance by Sarkozy of African studies, wondering how it was possible to hold similar discourses in 2008. Alpha Oumar Konare, head of the African Union commission, said "This speech was not the kind of break we were hoping for... It reminded us of another age, especially his comments about peasants." Other criticism was levelled at Sarkozy's failure to acknowledge the previous role of France in propping up abusive regimes. The French government defended Sarkozy's speech, saying that he also criticised the laissez faire economics of globalisation and proposed a partnership to help Africa confront it. Konare's wife Adame Ba Konare also started a movement of promotion of African History following Sarkozy's speech.

A purported letter from then South African president Thabo Mbeki praising Sarkozy for the speech and calling him a "citizen of Africa" raised an outcry among the South African media.

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. 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 words Sarkozy had uttered. He was arrested for causing offence to the presidential function and the prosecutor required a fine of 1000€ . 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.

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Nicolas Sarkozy Voodoo Manual (book)

The Nicolas Sarkozy Voodoo Manual is a satirical book by Yaël Rolognese, about the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, published in France by K&B Editors.

The box contains a cloth doll with the presidents effigy, a batch of 12 needles, and a book of 56 pages that includes a biography. It is on sale since October 9, 2008 in bookstores and on the Internet at a price of 12.95 euros. Similarly, there is another book published for Ségolène Royal in red colour.

The books marketing has been the subject of a complaint by the President of France requesting the withdrawal of the voodoo doll by invoking his right to absolute and exclusive use of his image. The case was taken to court where it was dismissed with the judge invoking freedom of expression, stating that "it is within the limits of freedom of expression and the right to humor" and that "Noone can take this process seriously". Nicolas Sarkozy has appealed the decision. This is the first time a French President loses in court.

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Socialist Party (France)

France-parti-socialiste.svg

The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste, PS) is the largest left-wing political party in France. It replaced the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) in 1969.

A social democratic and democratic socialist party, it first won power in 1981, when its candidate François Mitterrand was elected president of the Fifth Republic. Under Mitterrand, the party achieved a governing majority in the National Assembly from 1981 to 1986 and again from 1988 to 1993. PS leader Lionel Jospin lost his bid to succeed Mitterrand as president in the 1995 presidential election against Gaullist leader Jacques Chirac but became prime minister in a cohabitation government after the 1997 parliamentary elections, a position he held until 2002, when he was again defeated in presidential elections. In 2007, the party's candidate for the presidential election, Ségolène Royal, was defeated by Nicolas Sarkozy.

After the failure of the Paris commune (1871), power of the French socialist movement was greatly reduced. Its leaders were killed or exiled. France's first socialist party, the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France (Fédération des travailleurs socialistes de France or FTSF), was founded in 1879. It was characterised as "possibilist" because it promoted gradual reforms. Two parties split off from it: in 1882, the French Workers' Party (Parti ouvrier français or POF) of Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue (the son-in-law of Karl Marx), then in 1890 the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (Parti ouvrier socialiste révolutionnaire or POSR) of Jean Allemane. At the same time, the heirs of Louis Auguste Blanqui, a symbol of the French revolutionary tradition, created the Central Revolutionary Committee (Comité révolutionnaire central or CRC) led by Edouard Vaillant. There were also some declared socialist deputies such as Alexandre Millerand and Jean Jaurès who did not belong to any party.

In 1899, the participation of Millerand in Pierre Waldeck-Rousseau's cabinet caused a debate about socialist participation in a "bourgeois government". Three years later, Jaurès, Allemane and the possibilists founded the possibilist French Socialist Party, which supported participation in government, while Guesde and Vaillant formed the Socialist Party of France, which opposed such cooperation. In 1905, during the Globe Congress, the two groups merged in the French Section of the Workers International (Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière or SFIO). Jaurès became the party leader.

The party was hemmed in between the middle class liberals of the Radical Party and the revolutionary syndicalists who dominated the trade unions. Together with the Radicals, who wished to install laicism, it participated in the "Block of Lefts" (Bloc des gauches). In 1906, the General Confederation of Labour claimed its independence from all political parties.

The French socialists were strongly anti-war, but following the assassination of Jaurès in 1914 they were unable to resist the wave of militarism which followed the outbreak of World War I. They suffered a severe split over participation in the wartime government of national unity. In 1919 the anti-war socialists were heavily defeated in elections. In 1920, during the Tours Congress, the majority and left wing of the party broke away and formed the French Section of the Communist International (Section française de l'Internationale Communiste or SFIC) to join the Third International founded by Lenin. The right wing, led by Léon Blum, kept the "old house" and remained in the SFIO.

In 1924 and in 1932, the Socialists joined with the Radicals in the Coalitions of the Left (Cartels des Gauches), but refused to join the non-Socialist governments led by the Radicals Edouard Herriot and Edouard Daladier. These governments failed because the Socialists and the Radicals could not agree on economic policy, and also because the Communists, following the policy laid down by the Soviet Union, refused to support "bourgeois" governments. The question of the possibility of a governmment participation with Radicals caused the split of "neosocialists" at the beginning of the 1930s.

In 1934, the Communists changed their line, and the three parties came together in the Popular Front, which won the 1936 elections and brought Blum to power as France's first Socialist Prime Minister. Indeed, for the first time in its history, the SFIO obtained more votes and seats than the Radical Party and it formed the central axis of a left-wing parliamentary majority. Within a year, however, his government collapsed over economic policy and also over the issue of the Spanish Civil War. The demoralised left fell apart and was unable to resist the collapse of the French republic after the military defeat of 1940.

After the liberation of France in 1944, the SFIO re-emerged in a coalition with a powerful Communist Party (which became the main left-wing party) and the Christian Democratic MRP. This alliance did not survive the Cold War. Blum proposed the construction of a Third Force with the center-left and the center-right, against the Gaullists and the Communists. However, his candidate to lead of the SFIO, Daniel Mayer, was defeated by Guy Mollet.

Mollet was supported by the left wing of the party. Paradoxically, he spoke a Marxist language without questioning the alliance with the center and the center-right. He was Prime Minister at the head of a minority government in 1956. But the party was in decline, as were the Radicals, and the left never came close to forming a united front. Indeed, this led Mollet to assert, "the Communist Party is not on the left, but in the East". The repressive policy of Mollet in the Algerian War and his support for Charles de Gaulle's come-back in 1958 caused a split and the foundation of the Unified Socialist Party (Parti socialiste unifié or PSU). The SFIO returned to opposition in 1959; it reached its lowest ebb in the 1960s.

Both because of its opposition to the principle of presidential election by universal suffrage and because De Gaulle's re-election appeared inevitable, the SFIO did not nominate a candidate for the 1965 election. Consequently, it supported the candidacy of François Mitterrand, a former minister of the Fourth Republic who had been a conservative, then a leftist independent. He was resolutely anti-Gaullist. He obtained a good result and faced De Gaulle in an unexpected second ballot, becoming the leader of the non-Communist left.

In order to exist between the Communist Party, leading the left, and the Gaullist Party, leading the country, the SFIO, Radicals, and left-wing republican groups created the Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left under Mitterrand's leadership. But unable to benefit from the May 1968 events, it imploded after its disastrous defeat at the June 1968 legislative elections. One year later, the SFIO candidate Gaston Defferre was eliminated in the first round of the 1969 presidential election, with only 5% of votes.

In 1969, during the Alfortville Congress, the SFIO was replaced by the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste or PS). It was joined by pro-Pierre Mendès-France clubs (Union of Clubs for the Renewal of the Left led by Alain Savary) and left-wing republican groups (Union of Socialist Groups and Clubs of Jean Poperen). During the Issy-les-Moulineaux Congress, Alain Savary was elected First Secretary with the support of his predecessor Guy Mollet. He proposed an "ideological dialogue" with the Communists.

Two years later, during the Epinay Congress, pro-François Mitterrand clubs (Convention of the Republican institutions), joined the party. Mitterrand defeated the Savary-Mollet duo by proposing an electoral programme with the Communists. In 1972, the Common Programme was signed with the PCF and Left Radical Party. In the Socialist International conference, he explained the alliance of left-wing parties is a yearning of French left-wing voters. In this, the goal of his strategy was "to regain 3 millions of the 5 millions of PCF voters". The left, and notably the Socialist Party, experienced an electoral recovery at the 1973 legislative election. Mitterrand, the candidate of the left-wing alliance, came close to winning the 1974 presidential election. Indeed, he obtained 49.2% of votes in the second round.

At the end of 1974, some PSU members, including leader Michel Rocard, re-joined the PS. They represented the "left-wing Christian" and non-Marxist group. The most conservative members of the PS, they advocated an alignment of French socialism along European Social-Democratic lines, that is, a clear acceptance of the market economy. While the "Union of the Left" triumphed at the 1977 municipal election, the electoral rise of the PS worried the Communist Party. The two parties failed to update the Common Programme and the PCF leader Georges Marchais denounced a "turn towards the Right" of the PS.

In spite of positive polls, the "Union of the Left" lost the 1978 legislative election. For the first time since 1936, the Socialists scored better than the Communists, becoming the main left-wing party, but their defeat caused an internal crisis. Mitterrand's leadership was challenged by Rocard, who wanted to abandon the Common Programme which he considered archaic and unrealistic. Mitterrand felt that the left could not win without the alliance between the Socialists and the Communists. In 1979, Mitterrand won the Metz Congress, then, despite Rocard's popularity, was chosen as PS candidate for the 1981 presidential election.

In 1981 Mitterrand defeated the incumbent conservative, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, to become the first socialist of the Fifth Republic to be elected President of France by universal suffrage. He dissolved the National Assembly and, for the first time in their history, the French Socialists won an absolute majority of the seats. This "pink surge" took place to the detriment of the right-wing parliamentary parties (Rally for the Republic and Union for French Democracy), and the Communist Party too.

Mitterrand was the last elected national leader in Europe to attempt to carry out a socialist-inspired agenda (the 110 Propositions), furthering the dirigiste trends of the preceding conservative governments. The Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy nationalised the banks, the insurance industry and the defence industries, in accordance with the 1972 Common Program. Workers' wages were increased and working hours reduced to 39, and many other sweeping reforms carried out, but the economic crisis continued. Reforms included the abolition of death penalty, creation of a solidarity tax on wealth (ISF), introduction of proportional representation in legislative elections (which was applied only at the 1986 election), decentralization of the state (1982-83 laws), repeal of price liberalization for books (Lang Law of 1981), etc.

As early as 1982, Mitterrand faced a clear choice between maintaining France's membership in the European Monetary System, and thus the country's commitment to European integration, and pursuing his socialist policies. He chose the former, starting the Socialist Party's acceptance of the market economy. In 1984 Mitterrand and his second Prime Minister, Laurent Fabius, clearly abandoned any further socialist measures. The "Union of Left" died and the Communist ministers resigned.

The PS lost its majority in the French National Assembly in 1986, forcing Mitterrand to "cohabit" with the conservative government of Jacques Chirac. Nevertheless, Mitterrand was re-elected President in 1988 with a moderate programme entitled "United France". He proposed neither nationalisations nor privatisations. He chose as Prime Minister the most popular and moderate of the Socialist politicians, Michel Rocard. His cabinet included 4 center-right ministers but it was supported by only a plurality in the National Assembly elected in June 1988.

During his second term, Mitterrand focused on foreign policy and European integration. He convened a referendum for the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. He left domestic policy to his prime ministers: Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson and Pierre Bérégovoy. The party was hit by scandals about its financing and weakened by the struggle between the heirs of "Mitterrandism".

In 1990, during the Rennes Congress, the "Mitterrandist group" split between the supporters of Laurent Fabius and the friends of Lionel Jospin. Furthermore, a part of the left-wing of the party, led by Jean-Pierre Chevènement split off due to his opposition to the Gulf War and the Maastricht Treaty. This section created the Citizens' Movement (Mouvement des citoyens or MDC). Finally, many on the left were disappointed by the results of the Socialist governments. At the 1993 legislative election, the PS did poorly, returning to the levels of the SFIO in the 1960s. The Socialist group of the National Assembly numbered 53 deputies against 260 during the previous term.

Rocard became First Secretary of the party, and was considered the "natural candidate" for the next presidential election. He called for a political "big bang": an agreement with the center and the center-right, but his efforts were in vain. One year later, his party obtained only 14% of votes at the European election. Henri Emmanuelli, a "Mitterrandist" left-winger, succeeded him as First Secretary. Jacques Delors, president of the European commission and a favorite according to the polls, declined to be the PS candidate due to the radicalization of the party. Finally, Lionel Jospin, who proposed to "take stock" of Mitterrand's inheritance, was chosen as the party's candidate, but lost to Jacques Chirac.

In the legislature, the PS reconstructed a coalition with other left-wing parties: the PCF, the Greens, the Left Radical Party and the MDC. This "Plural Left" (Gauche plurielle) won the 1997 legislative election and Jospin became Prime Minister of the third "cohabitation".

His policy was broadly progressive but had little to do with traditional socialism. The Aubry laws reduced the working time to 35 hours a week. Universal medical insurance was instituted. However, the policy of privatization was pursued.

His coalition dissolved when the MDC leader Jean-Pierre Chevènement resigned from the Cabinet. The Green and Communist allies were weakened by their governmental participation.

The 2002 presidential election was focused on the theme of insecurity. Jospin, again the Socialists' candidate, was eliminated in the first round due to there being too many left-wing candidates who split the vote. He announced his retirement from politics, and the PS called on its supporters to vote for Chirac in order to defeat the National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who had surprisingly advanced to the run-off. Two months later, the "Plural Left" lost the legislative election.

François Hollande, who became First Secretary in 1997, was re-elected in 2003 during the Dijon Congress with the support of the main Socialist personalities, against the left-wing of the party. In the 2004 regional elections, the Socialists had a major comeback. In coalition with the former "Plural Left", they gained power in 20 of the 22 metropolitan regions (all except Alsace and Corsica) and in the four overseas regions. The party benefited from increasing frustration with right-wing parties. However, the Socialist Party has experienced considerable difficulty in formulating an alternative to right-wing policy.

On December 1, 2004, 59% of Socialist Party members approved the proposed European Constitution. However, several well-known members of the Party, including Laurent Fabius, and left-wingers Henri Emmanuelli and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, asked the public for a "no" vote in the 29 May 2005 French referendum on the European Constitution, where the proposed Constitution was rejected. Fabius was ejected from the executive office of the party. The split over the European Constitution, as well as party leaders' competing ambitions to win the presidential nomination in 2007, led the party into considerable disarray.

In November 2005, during the Le Mans Congress, three main groups were present. The majority supported a moderate text and obtained 55%. Fabius's allies ("To Rally the Left") advocated more radical policies and gained 20%. Finally, another faction ("New Socialist Party") claimed it was necessary to renovate the party by proposing left-wing policies and a profound reform of French institutions. It obtained 25% of the vote. Virtually all factions agreed on a common agenda, broadly based on the moderate and pro-European majority's position with some left-wing amendments.

For the 2007 presidential election, many potential candidates appeared: François Hollande, Laurent Fabius (from the left-wing of the party), Dominique Strauss-Kahn (who claimed to represent "social democracy"), Jack Lang, Martine Aubry and Ségolène Royal, who was favoured according to the polls. Some Socialist leaders asked Jospin to return. He declared he was "available" then finally refused.

On November 16, 2006, the members of the Socialist Party chose Ségolène Royal to be their candidate with a majority of 60%. Her challengers, Strauss-Kahn and Fabius, obtained 21% and 19% respectively.

After obtaining 25.87% of the vote in the first round of France's presidential elections, Royal qualified for the second round of voting but lost with 46.94% to Nicolas Sarkozy on May 6, 2007. Immediately after her defeat several party bosses (notably Strauss-Kahn), held Ségolène Royal personally responsible for the unsuccessful campaign. In the same time, some personalities of the right-wing of the party (such as Bernard Kouchner) accepted to join the government nominated by Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the 10 and 17 June 2007 French National Assembly elections, the party won 186 out of 577 seats, and about 10 affiliated, gain of 40 seats.

After the winning March 2008 municipal election, the campaign with a view to the Reims Congress started. Some candidates proposed to succeed François Hollande, who had announced he will not compete for another term as First Secretary. Ségolène Royal who wished to forge an alliance with the centre party MoDem; the mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë, supported by Lionel Jospin and his friends, who wished to keep the status quo of the 2007 campaign and come back to the Plural Left; Martine Aubry, supported by the followers of Laurent Fabius and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who had the same electoral strategy as the Mayor of Paris but advocated reconcilitaion between the campaigners of the "yes" and the "no" to the European constitution; and the young left-winger Benoit Hamon.

In the pre-vote, the text of Royal arrived the first with 29%, followed by Delanoë (25%), Aubry (25%) and Hamon (19%). A part of the left-wing spilt and founded the Party of the Left. During the Reims Congress, which happened in a very tense climate, the leaders of the factions failed to form a majority. Consequently, the PS members must to elect directly the next First Secretary. Disappointed by his result in the pre-vote, Delanoë renounced and called to vote for Aubry.

On 22 November 2008 it was announced that Aubry had defeated Royal by the narrow margin of 42 votes, and Royal asked for a recount. After checking, Martine Aubry was elected by a margin of 102 votes and 50,03% of votes.

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Source : Wikipedia