The President-elect of France has hit back at critics who have taken him to task over a luxury break, cruising off the Maltese coast. Left-wingers say Nicholas Sarkozy’s three day holiday was an ill-judged trip, showing he is out of touch with the problems of ordinary people.
Reacting to the criticism, Sarkozy pointed out he is actually entitled to eight days, adding: “If I had been sworn-in as president of the republic, I would have stayed at work. The constitution gives me these few days, and I want to enjoy them in peace. I know that the French people can reason – and can tell the difference between criticism and politics.”
He said the 60-metre yacht Paloma and a private jet had been made available by the billionaire media magnate Vincent Bolloré – a friend of 20 years. Spokesman for the defeated Segolene Royal, Vincent Peillon said Sarkozy is “someone who has campaigned on the factory floor, with the French who get up early, and then immediately turns to a France that is fabulously opulent.” In Paris, there was an emotional Council of Ministers meeting, as Jacques Chirac said goodbye at his last gathering after 12 years in power.