The Sarkozy effect: France’s new presidential dynamic

James G. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The election on 6 May 2007 of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of the Republic ushered in the promise of a new era in France. Sarkozy’s presidency follows those of the Socialist François Mitterrand (1981-95) and the neo-Gaullist Jacques Chirac (1995-2007), who together occupied France’s highest political office for more than a quarter-century. From the outset, Sarkozy’s presidential campaign was predicated on the need for change in France, for a “rupture” with the past; and his emphatic victory against the Socialist Ségolène Royal gave him a mandate to effect this. The legislative elections of June 2007, by assuring a strong majority in the National Assembly for Sarkozy’s centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), left the way clear for implementing the new President’s reform agenda over the next five years. This article examines the political context within which Sarkozy was elected to power, the main proposals of his presidential program, the challenges he faces, and his prospects for bringing real change to France.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalGeorgetown Journal of International Affairs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • France
  • politics
  • Sarkozy
  • presidency
  • government
  • reform


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