Sarkozy marks 100 days in power

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Sarkozy marks 100 days in power

Sarkozy marks 100 days in power
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It has been an action-packed three months for France’s energetic new president. Since his election, it seems like Nicolas Sarkozy has been everywhere. Opinion polls show that despite a slight slump, the president still enjoys more than 60 percent popular support.

It all started with his swearing in ceremony in May, surrounded by his glamourous re-constituted family including his second wife Cecilia, a former model.

A new government was swiftly formed. Sarkozy is the conductor of this team headed by the discreet and loyal “Sarkoziste”, prime minister Francois Fillon.

His government may not be an example of gender equality, but it is the first to include three women of African origin.

And Sarkozy made good on campaign pledges of an all-inclusive executive by bringing in high-profile socialists including Bernard Kouchner – the “French doctor” is now foreign affairs minister.

“Everything I promised to change, I will, everything I pledged to reform, I will,” said Sarkozy.

So what has the president’s hectic schedule produced so far?

At home, Sarkozy has launched his promised reform programme with legislation on tax, and labour, more autonomy for universities, and guaranteed minimum services in public transport during strikes.

On the international front, he and his wife took a role in securing the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic imprisoned in Libya in exchange for bilateral accords with Tripoli.

One of Sarkozy’s first priorities was to restore momentum to the European constitution project in the shape of a so-called “mini-treaty”.

But for those who expected Sarkozy’s promised break from the past, there has been disappointment.

In a major setback, France’s constitutional court has curtailed his election pledge to give tax breaks to home-owners.

And storm clouds are gathering over the country’s economy as a global financial crisis threatens already disappointing growth at home.

Nothing, supporters say, that Sarkozy, fresh from his summer-break in the upmarket US resort of Wolfsboro, can’t handle.

It is the first time a French president has holidayed in the States – in a villa, the opposition hastened to add, costing 22,000 euros a week to rent.

But the real controversy centred on his waist and the love handles carefully air-brushed out of a photograph published in a popular celebriy magazine – prompting the question: how far does Nicolas Sarkozy’s influence really stretch?