It’s now been a year since Nicolas Sarkozy, by a wide margin, swept into France’s presidential palace with promises of sweeping reforms of everything from the country’s finances to its national character. You will remember the trajectory. After a skittering rise that saw him in and out of power, he took control of the UMP, Jacques Chirac’s electoral machine. In the 2005 post-EU-referendum cabinet reshuffle he unexpectedly ended up back in his old job at the interior ministry, where his nightly television interventions during that year’s awful suburban riots made him a national star. When the 2006 student protests over the Contrat première embauche delegitimated his only remaining rival, the prime minister Dominique de Villepin, Sarkozy won his party’s nomination and eventually the presidency by making the election a referendum about himself.
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