Nicolas Sarkozy's full name is Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa. On 16 May 2007 he became the first child of an immigrant to become President of France. Prior to his becoming President, Sarkozy held a number of high-profile offices in French public life. Perhaps most notably, he has held the positions of Interior Minister twice (in 2002 - 2004 and 2005 - 2007), Finance Minister (2004), Budget Minister (1993 - 1994), President of the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine department (2004 - 2007), and mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine (1983 - 2007). Beginning in 2004, Sarkozy has also headed the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, a center-right Gaullist party.
Born 28 January 1955, Nicolas Sarkozy grew up in the 17th arrondissement of Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy area West of Paris situated in the Île-de-France region. Although his family has Jewish roots, he and his two brothers were christened Catholics. An able. if not brilliant student, Sarkozy gained his bachelor's degree in 1973 and enrolled the same year at the Université Paris X Nanterre. Here, he gained a masters degree in Private Law and thereafter went on to pass his bar exams, becoming a lawyer in 1981.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s first position in public office came when, at the age of twenty eight, he was elected as mayor of his home town Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy Paris suburb. His tenure as mayor is best remembered for his handling of the 1993 ‘Human Bomb’ episode in a local kindergarten. Sarkozy personally negotiated with a man who took children hostage at a local school. Later, the man was killed by police and the children were released. The same year, Sarkozy assumed his first roles of real public prominence. He became both a budget minister as well as a spokesman for the Prime Minister at the time. During this period, he was regarded as the protégé and political heir of Jacques Chirac, the French President.
In the 1995 general elections, Sarkozy caused a political stir when he distanced himself from Chirac to support Balladur, the Prime Minister he was a spokesman for. When Chirac won the election, Sarkozy found himself on the periphery of power. However, on his re-election in 2002, Chirac appointed Sarkozy first to the position of Minister of the Interior in the Raffarin government, then, in 2004, to Finance Minister. The same year, Sarkozy signaled his intention to run for President in 2007 by entering and winning the race to become UMP leader, a set of circumstances that meant his position as Finance Minster was untenable and so he resigned from the cabinet. However, he was re-installed as Interior Minister in the 2005 Dominique de Villepin cabinet.
On 14 January 2007, Sarkozy was chosen by the Union for a Popular Movement(UMP) as its candidate for that year’s elections. He won the first round of the general election with 31.18% of the popular vote and went on to take 53% of the votes in the second round, compared with 48% for his socialist rival Segolene Royal. On 16 May 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy became the sixth president of the French Fifth Republic at the Elysee Palace.