Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most divisive Presidents in French history, served just one term when he lost his re-election bid four years ago. And now he aims for another shot as he has announced his candidacy for the presidency next year.
He is hoping that he can pull France out of the economic trough it’s been stuck in for years. He is also trying to use his hardline reputation on crime to convince voters that he will prevent further ISIL atrocities on French soil.
But as CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reports, his history, especially economic record, is open to question.
Sarkozy to run for presidency again despite allegations of corruptionDespite an ongoing investigation into corruption and illegal campaign financing, Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he will run again to lead the country, promising to restrict immigration and prevent terror attacks. CCTV America's Owen Fairclough reports.
Nicolas Sarkozy promised to shake France up as voters elected him President in 2007. His wide-ranging reform package included balancing the budget within five years and making the labor market more employer-friendly.
However, if his call for change was what made him an election winner, his approval ratings began to slide quickly.
French voters were also objecting to what they considered an ostentatious lifestyle and public courtship of Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni.
Sarkozy’s reform agenda then took a back seat as the global financial crisis engulfed Europe a little over a year after he took office.
The President’s energy put him front and center, negotiating bailouts for broken Eurozone countries like Greece, while demanding new rules to rein in financial markets. But as he played financial statesman, France’s economy ran into deep trouble. Having spent more than $36 billion trying to stimulate the economy, he then had to dramatically cut back.
As recession gave way to weak growth, unemployment climbed to nearly 10 percent. France then sank so far into debt that it lost its triple A credit rating, which was a humiliation for a leading European economy. The government even had to publicly deny it needed a bailout of its own.
Although Sarkozy stood for re-election in 2012, voters opted for Francois Hollande and his promise to end austerity and create tens of thousands of new public sector jobs.
Now that he has announced that he will run again to lead the country, despite an ongoing investigation into corruption and illegal campaign financing, he was soon back in public, promising to restrict immigration and criticizing Hollande for security lapses that failed to prevent a string of ISIL terror attacks.
For Sarkozy, the first step will be to beat a field of more than a dozen contenders in a November primary to be the right’s official candidate.
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard on the French economy
As mentioned above, Sarkozy is running again for the presidency and aiming to recover the French economy. For more on the current state of France’s economy after the terror attacks and Brexit, CCTV America’s Jessica Stone spoke to Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, senior fellow at Peterson Institute For International Economics.