Sarkozy and Villepin: A Tale of Two Classes

AP / Francois Mori

Sarkozy: The bourgeois. Abandoned by his father as a child, Sarkozy, a lawyer by training, climbed to the top through hard work. His common touch is popular with voters
Villepin: The aristocrat. As the son of a diplomat, former Prime Minister Villepin was born into the ruling élite. He has written poetry, and a book about Napoleon

They may both belong to France's conservative party, but President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin could not be more different. Tall, elegant, and ostentatiously erudite, Villepin was a career diplomat who gained the Matignon without ever having run for office. Short, petulant and sparking with excessive energy, Sarkozy marched to the Elysée Palace by winning an election, using old-fashioned political grunt work and his Cabinet posts to establish a reputation for delivering results. Along the way, the two men's conflicting styles and rival aspirations turned them into bitter enemies. Now, two years after Sarkozy won a...

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