Nicolas Sarkozy - hot seat hotshot

29th July 2003, Comments 0 comments

French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy is the man in the hot seat: mandated to get tough on crime, he must steal the wind of the extreme right and win support from the left. He can't fail — he wants to be France's next president. Hugh Schofield reports.

After six months in office Nicolas Sarkozy has become the French government's hyperactive hitman, using unashamedly right-wing policies in the fight against crime and even winning plaudits from his political enemies.

In early December, six million people tuned into national television to watch the interior minister debate immigration with far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, announce a five percent drop in national crime figures, and reveal a new organisation for the country's five million strong Muslim community. The day after the TV appearance, he was back up in Calais to review closure plans for the controversial Sangatte refugee centre, which for three years under the last Socialist government poisoned relations with Britain.

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