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As of 2005, he is president of the UMP conservative political party and a deputy to the French National Assembly. He has previously held several ministerial posts including Finance Minister and Minister of the Interior.
He is a probable contender for the 2007 French presidential election .
Sarkozy was born in France. His father was Pal Nagy-Bocsa y Sarközy, who belonged to a family of Hungarian aristocrats that immigrated to France in 1951, fleeing the Communist regime in Hungary. His mother is of Greek-Jewish descent, making Nicolas Sarkozy Jewish according to Jewish law. Nicolas Sarkozy is a Roman Catholic and has mentioned his faith several times in interviews and books.
Nicolas Sarkozy holds a bachelor's degree in law from the Université Paris X Nanterre and a certificate of aptitude for the profession of attorney. He also studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (more widely known as Sciences Po) where he failed the degree.
His political career began at the young age of 22, when he became a city councillor in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He went on to be elected mayor and serve from 1983 to 2002. In 1988 he became a deputy in the French parliament. From 1993 to 1995, he was Minister for the Budget and spokesman for the executive in the cabinet of Édouard Balladur.
Throughout most of this early career, Sarkozy was seen as a protégé of Jacques Chirac. However, by 1995, he had spurned Chirac and was backing Prime Minister Édouard Balladur for President. After Chirac won the election, Sarkozy lost his position as a Budget Minister and found himself outside the circles of power. It is regarded that Chirac considered Sarkozy's siding with Balladur as a form of treason.
In 2002, however, after his reelection as president of the French Republic (see French presidential election, 2002), Jacques Chirac appointed Sarkozy as Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, despite the widely acknowledged distrust between the two.
Following the cabinet reshuffle of March 31, 2004, Sarkozy was moved to the position of Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry. Tensions continued to grew 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. It became increasingly apparent that Sarkozy would go on to seek the presidency in 2007. In a widely repeated anecdote, when asked by a journalist whether he thought about the presidential election when he shaved in the morning, Sarkozy commented "not only when I shave".
In November 2004, after party elections, Sarkozy became leader of the UMP, winning 85% of the votes cast. Following an agreement with Chirac on the issue, he resigned his position as minister.
After he resigning his position as deputy, Sarkozy was reelected on March 13, 2005 to the National Assembly.
Action as a minister
Towards the end of his spell as Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy was the most popular conservative politician in France, according to polls conducted at the beginning of 2004. However, his actions as a minister have made him a controversial figure in France.
He became Minister for the Interior at a time when France was facing significant social and public order problems, including tackling anti-Semitic violence by Islamic youths. His "tough on crime" policies, which included increasing the police presence on the streets and introducing monthly crime performance ratings, were popular with many. However, he was criticized for putting forward legislation that some felt infringed on civil rights and adversely affected disadvantaged sections of the population, such as the homeless, prostitutes, young people from housing estates. Other criticism was that Sarkozy's actions were more show than real substance, and relocated delinquency from some areas to some less fashionable ones.
During his appointment as Minister of Finance, Nicolas Sarkozy brought in a number of policies mixing libéralisme (an hands-off approach to running the economy) with some intervention. In September 2004, he oversaw the reduction of the government ownership share in France Télécom from 50.4% to 41% . At this time, he reached an agreement by which the major retail chains in France would seek to lower retail prices by an average of 2%; the success of this measure is disputed, with studies suggesting that the decrease was closer to 1%. Sarkozy avoided taking a decision on the ISF ("solidarity tax on fortune"), which is considered an ideological symbolic by many on the left and right. — Some in the business world and on the Right request its abolition, but such a position by Sarkozy risks it bieng categorized by the French Left to be a gift to the richest classes of society at a time of economic difficulties.
Sarkozy, a Roman Catholic, has caused controversy through his views on the relationship between religion and state. In 2004, he published a book called La République, les religions, l'espérance ("The Republic, religions, and hope")  where he claimed that the young should not be brought up solely on secular or Republican values. He also advocated reducing the Separation of Church and State, including the subsidy of mosques by the government to help Muslim clerics accustomize to French values. 
Ambition for the future
As of 2004, many think that Sarkozy is the French Right's best hope for the 2007 presidential elections. While it is by no means certain that he will run, and his electoral platform is unknown at this point, it is conjectured that Nicolas Sarkozy would run on a platform of lower taxes and flexible labour markets, — which is often presented in some of the foreign press as moving closer to the social and economic model of the United States of America. Because of this, and because of Sarkozy's perceived willingness to seek closer links with the United States, Sarkozy is generally quite popular with the US press.
On the other hand, Sarkozy's presidential ambition does not sit well with president Jacques Chirac, who sees him as a threat. While it is unknown at this point whether Chirac would seek a third term as president (a move which, though legal, most consider unlikely), it is possible that more "loyalist" candidates, such as Alain Juppé, would oppose Sarkozy. Whatever the case, Sarkozy's actions are already carefully monitored by his opponents.
Another barrier to Sarkozy's ambitions is the left-wing opposition. They are likely (and have started) to portray Sarkozy as a political showman "cozy with big business". They cite the fact that Guillaume Sarkozy , Nicolas' brother, is a high official in the MEDEF, the foremost business union in France. They also state that Nicolas gives tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, and that he dwells on the security fears of citizens and uses law enforcement forces to make a show.
Timeline of career
- 1977, becomes councillor in the town of Neuilly-sur-Seine
- 1977, member of the central committee for the RPR.
- 1978-1979, national youth delegate for the RPR.
- 1979-1981, president of the national youth delegates under Jacques Chirac for the presidential election of 1981.
- 1988, national secretary of the RPR, in charge of youth and teaching issues.
- Co-directer of the list "Union pour les Élections européennes".
- 1992-1993, secrétaire général-adjoint du RPR, chargé des Fédérations. (Assistant secretary of the RPR in charge of the militants organisations)
- Since 1993, member of the RPR political office.
- 1993 – 1995, Minister for the Budget in the cabinet of Edouard Balladur
- 1995-1997 spokesman for the RPR.
- 1998-1999, Secretary General of the RPR.
- 1999, interim president of the RPR.
- 1999, head of the RPR-DL electoral list of the European elections in June
- May 2000, elected President of the committee of the RPR for the department of Hauts-de-Seine.
- 2002 – March 2004, Minister of the Interior in the cabinet of Jean-Pierre Raffarin
- March 2004 – November 2004, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry in the cabinet of Jean-Pierre Raffarin
- Nov 2004, elected the new head of President Jacques Chirac's governing UMP party.
- le mérite et le travail doivent être des valeurs de plus en plus récompensées. Il faut applaudir, remercier la France qui se lève tôt. ("Merit and labour must be more and more rewarded values. We must applaud and thank the France which wakes early")
- Nicolas Sarkozy's page as a former deputy of the French National Assembly
- Sarkozy takes over Chirac party
- Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy
- Nicolas Sarkozy: French Choose the American Way? (from a pro-Sarkozy POV)
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