France's Sarkozy laments 'totally inhuman' job

2nd July 2009, Comments 0 comments

President Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged making mistakes but said in his defence that he faced "totally inhuman" demands.

Paris – President Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged making mistakes in an interview Wednesday but said in his defence that he faced "totally inhuman" demands as French head of state.

In the interview to Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, Sarkozy drew a distinction between the flashy first months of his presidency and his current toned-down style as he embarks on the second half of his five-year term.

"I made mistakes," Sarkozy said when asked whether there were missteps during the first two years of his presidency.

"Was everything that was said to criticise me unfair? No."

But he went on to add: "Some time is needed to grow into a post like this one, to understand how it works, to rise to the level of a task that, I assure you, is totally inhuman," Sarkozy said.

The 54-year-old leader, who divorced and got remarried to model-turned-singer Carla Bruni after becoming president, voiced regret over a much-criticised "election victory party" held at the swanky Fouquet's restaurant on the Champs Elysees.

Sarkozy's close advisers along with showbiz celebrities and many of France's richest men attended the fete seen in some circles as a crass display of the new French leader's taste for glamour.

"I didn't think that evening was important. I was wrong. But in any case, when something is misunderstood and causes controversy, it's a mistake. And if there is a mistake, it shouldn't be repeated," he said.

Sarkozy denied that he had lodged a police complaint in the case of a Marseille school teacher who was hauled in court for shouting out "Sarkozy! I See you!" in jest at police officers doing ID checks at a train station.

A court is due to hand down a decision on Friday in that case, with the teacher facing a possible fine of 100 euros (140 dollars) if convicted of disturbing the peace.

Sarkozy described the case as "ridiculous" and said he was "shocked".

"I don't understand why this man is being tried," he said.

The right-winger was elected in May 2007 on a platform that called for sweeping reform to spur economic growth, create jobs and boost France's status as a European power.

But the economic crisis and poor approval ratings -- which appear to have improved slightly of late -- prompted Sarkozy to tone down some of his ambitions, even though he has pledged to forge ahead with reforms.

AFP / Expatica

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