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© La Documentation française. Photo Philippe Warrin
A former lawyer at the Barreau de Paris (Paris bar), he was elected the sixth president of the Fifth Republic on 6th May 2007 at the age of 52.
Born in Paris, the son of a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in France post-war, alongside his studies in law and at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (institute of political sciences), he began his rapidly-moving political career at a very young age. After becoming a member of the Neuilly-sur-Seine Municipal Council in 1977, he was elected Mayor at the age of 28, elected MP for the Hauts-de-Seine area at the age of 34, and became deputy secretary general of the Gaullist political party, the Rassemblement pour la République (the rally for the republic), in 1992.
Elected France's Budget Minister and spokesman for the government of Édouard Balladur at the age of 38 (1993), he chose to support the latter in the presidential election, which was won two years later by Jacques Chirac (1995) after a fratricidal battle. After Chirac was re-elected in 2002, Nicolas Sarkozy was named Minister of the Interior. He very quickly began to take action in many different domains: reducing job insecurity, regulating Muslim worship, instigating the closure of a refugee camp in Sangatte, and abolition of the “double peine” (right to deport a foreign national from France after he/she has served a prison sentence for a crime committed in the country). He then became a Minister of State as Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry between 2004 and 2005.
In November 2004, he was elected the head of the UMP, the political group that pools the majority of right-wing parliamentary movements, and subsequently Sarkozy resigned from his ministerial functions before being named Minister of the Interior under the government of Dominique de Villepin in June 2005.
In November 2006, Nicolas Sarkozy put forward his first candidature for the May 2007 presidential election, which he won with 53.06% of the vote against the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal.