Nicolas Sarkozy: Charles de Gaulle’s (Prodigal) Son?

It is the received view – a view that took root that fateful evening at Fouquet’s restaurant, the evening of his victory over his Socialist rival, Ségolène Royal, in May 2007 – that Nicolas Sarkozy as President between 2007 and 2012 betrayed Charles de Gaulle’s République de Grandeur, replacing it with a République de ‘bling’. On May 6, 2007, to celebrate his triumphant election to the most powerful office in the Western world, more powerful in domestic terms than even the President of the United States, Sarkozy and his rich friends (Sarkozy is not himself rich) [1] dined ostentatiously. All the high fives revealing an overabundance of Rolexes, as the bottles of champagne emptied (although Sarkozy himself does not drink). He later spent a short holiday on the Paloma, the yacht of his friend Vincent Bolloré, one of the richest businessmen in France (Sarkozy himself does not have a yacht). Sarkozy had said in early 2007 that, if he won the presidency, he would spend some time meditating or gathering his thoughts, perhaps in a monastery. The vulgar desire to party instead put a curse on his presidency that he could not shake off throughout his five-year term.

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