Nicolas Sarkozy--famous for being extravagant, charismatic, and husband to Carla Bruni--is the first French president to lose the re-election bid in over 30 years. His presidency came to an abrupt end yesterday after he was beaten in the polls by "an unassuming and bespectacled Socialist" named Francois Hollande. Could his flashy lifestyle, including his famous marriage to the beautiful Italian supermodel-singer-actress, be to blame?
Critics say 'yes'--that his superficial 'self-centered antics' are ultimately what led to his downfall. When he was elected five years ago, he promised 'youthful,' refreshing change to traditional France (not unlike Obama's campaign for change in the U.S.). But it seems he did too much for himself and not enough for his country and its economic problems. After his victory speech in 2007, Sarkozy celebrated that same night at one of the most expensive and ritzy restaurants on the Champs-Elysees, and then "jetted off to the yacht of a tycoon friend in the Mediterranean." Critics thought this was showy and superficial to say the least.
Another thing the ex-president did that captured the media's attention was marrying Italian-born former supermodel Carla Bruni, not long after his divorce to his first wife, and only nine weeks after meeting Bruni. Something so outwardly scandalous would never fly in America (where politicians prefer to keep their sketchy sexual escapades hidden), and at first raised eyebrows among the French, but Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy quickly charmed everyone as France's new First Lady. Now, sources say she is a bit of a mess after her husband's defeat.
'Sarko' threw the blame for his presidential failures on Europe's financial crisis on the 2012 campaign trail, saying he was more or less powerless, but changed his tune yesterday, saying: "I take full responsibility for this defeat....I am [now] preparing to become just one French citizen amongst many." One has to wonder if he is sadder to fail at the presidency or the prospect of losing some of the perks of his extravagant lifestyle.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.