Skip to main content

Sarkozy, Nicolas

Nicolas Sarkozy (Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa) (nēkōlä´ pōl stāfän´ särkōzē´ də näzhē´-bōksä´), 1955–, French politician, president of France (2007–12), b. Paris. The son of a minor Hungarian aristocrat who immigrated to France and married the daughter of Greek immigrants, Sarkozy became a lawyer and entered politics as a conservative. He was mayor (1983–2002) of Neuilly, a Paris suburb, and was elected to the National Assembly from the Hauts-de-Seine dept. in 1988 and reelected in 1993, 1995, and 1997.

Sarkozy served in Premier Balladur's cabinet as budget minister (1993–94), and as Raffarin's interior minister (2002–04) he gained a reputation for being tough on crime and immigration. A longtime member of the neo-Gaullist Rally for the Republic party (RPR), he joined the new center-right coalition, Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). He was appointed finance minister in 2004, but resigned later that year to become (2004–7) UMP party leader; from 2005 to 2007 he again served as interior minister.

Popular and charismatic, but polarizing as well—especially when he staked out an outspoken law-and-order position in his second stint as interior minister—the energetic Sarkozy has been characterized as a media-savvy American-style politician. In late 2006 he announced his candidacy for the 2007 French presidential race, and he secured the UMP nomination for the post in Jan., 2007. Leading after the first round, he defeated Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate, in the May runoff to win the presidency. Following the Aug., 2008, Russo-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia, he actively negotiated a cease-fire and Russian withdrawal from Georgia proper. Domestically, he has secured passage of constitutional and social welfare changes, including presidential term limits and a restructuring of the national pension system. An advocate, with Germany's Chancellor Merkel, of a generally conservative response to the eurozone crisis of the early 2010s, emphasizing government austerities to restore fiscal health, he failed to win reelection (2012), losing to Socialist François Hollande. In 2014 he again was elected UMP party leader; UMP was renamed The Republicans in 2015.

See his autobiographical political manifesto, Testimony (2006, tr. 2007).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sarkozy, Nicolas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 20 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Sarkozy, Nicolas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 20, 2018).

"Sarkozy, Nicolas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 20, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.