Nicolas Sarkozy has taken up the post of French president in a handover ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Jacques Chirac left the palace for the last time after private talks with Sarkozy. One of Chirac’s jobs was reportedly to hand over the codes for France’s nuclear arms.
The inauguration ceremony followed strict protocol, watched by family, friends and leading politicians. After the announcement of the official election result by the head of the constitutional council, Sarkozy received the insignia of office. He then made his speech as head of state. “My thoughts are first with the French people,” he said. “This is a great population, with a great history, who have risen up to say that they believe in democracy.” Sarkozy’s wife, Cecilia, and five children were there, along with his mother and two brothers.