Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of France in 2007, taking office on 16 May 2007. Sarkozy heads the Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire ("Union for a Popular Movement," or UMP) and is known as a high-energy, blunt-talking conservative whose favorite issues include immigration reform, jobs, law and order, and French national identity. Nicolas Sarkozy was only 28 when he became mayor of the well-to-do suburb Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1983; he won national acclaim in 1993 after schoolchildren in Neuilly were taken hostage by a man calling himself the Human Bomb, and Sarkozy negotiated directly with the man for their release. In 2002 he was installed as France's minister of the interior, and became known for his hard-line approach to crime among inner-city youth. He was made finance minister in 2004, and the same year took over leadership of the UMP, the party of then-President Jacques Chirac. He succeeded Chirac in 2007, defeating Socialist candidate Ségolene Royal in national elections to win a five-year term as president. As president he presided over France during the great international financial crises that began in 2008; he won praise for working closely with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but was criticized for austerity measures (like raising the retirement age from 60 to 62) and for his failure to get unemployment down or the economy back up to speed. He ran for a second five-year term but was defeated by Socialist candidate Francois Hollande on 6 May 2012.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s last name is pronounced SAR-ko-zee… His nickname is “Sarko”… Sarkozy has been married thrice: to the former Marie-Dominique Culioli from 1982-96, to model Cécilia Ciganer-Albeniz from 1996 to 2007 (the couple were divorced five months after Sarkozy took office as president), and to model Carla Bruni on 2 February 2008. Bruni gave birth to their first child, a daughter, on 19 October 2011. It was the first child ever born to a sitting French president. Sarkozy has three sons from his previous marriages… The name of the “Human Bomb” kidnapper was Eric Schmitt; he was killed in a police raid that ended the incident… As a conservative, Sarkozy has sometimes been compared with ultra-rightist French politician Jean Marie Le Pen… In the elections of 2012, the final tally was 48.4% for Sarkozy, 51.6% for Francois Hollande.
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