Sarkozy: ‘My health is fine’

30th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The 54-year-old president declares to the French people that he is in good health and just needs to get some rest.

Paris – French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared he needed rest but was in good health as he went back to work Wednesday, three days after he collapsed while jogging.

"I want to say to the French people that my health is fine," the 54-year-old leader asserted on the steps of the Elysee presidential palace in Paris after chairing a meeting of his cabinet.

Sarkozy was flown by helicopter to hospital on Sunday after suffering a dizzy spell while jogging on a hot summer day. He was diagnosed as having fainted from overwork and dehydration.

"I have to get some rest," said Sarkozy who appeared relaxed and was even sporting a summer tan.

Acknowledging that his life had been hectic since he became interior minister in 2002 and rose to top office, Sarkozy pledged to slow down in the coming weeks and enjoy a quiet summer holiday with his wife Carla Bruni.

"We are going to go south on vacation with Carla and the children and spend some quiet time," he said.

The president, known for his fast-paced style, was released from a military hospital on Monday and spent the following day resting at a residence outside Paris, although he did hold meetings with aides.

The incident has raised questions about the health of the head of state, which in France has traditionally been treated as a private matter.

Late former president Francois Mitterrand, for example, kept his prostate cancer secret for most of his time in office.

After undergoing an extensive battery of tests, Sarkozy sought to assuage concerns and reiterated that he would make public any health problems that may arise, in line with his election pledge for more transparency.

"If something had been found, I would tell you. Please believe me," he said. "I have decided that from now on, things must be perfectly clear and that if I am hospitalised or undergo tests, I will make it public."

The cabinet meeting was the last before the government's summer break before Sarkozy goes away for three weeks of holidays at his wife’s family villa on the Mediterranean.

Sarkozy said he could not explain specifically what happened to him as he ran through a wooded area in Versailles and described it as an attack of "sudden fatigue."

"Was it caused by dehydration or the heat? I don't know. I have had thousands of runs like those and nothing ever happened."

Asked whether the incident would prompt him to change his lifestyle, Sarkozy responded that he and his wife Carla were pretty much homebodies.

"We don't go out late at night, we never go to parties, I don't drink ... I don't smoke cigarettes even if I do have a weakness for the odd cigar so I don't think that I have any major structural changes to make," he said.

An avid runner who also cycles, Sarkozy has sought to project an image of a healthy, energetic leader, rising to the demands of a packed schedule, foreign travel and family life.

Since his election in May 2007, Sarkozy has twice released the results of his annual checkup, although a book released last year revealed that he had concealed minor throat surgery from the public.

Sarkozy acknowledged that his decision in the fall of 2007 to keep quiet about the operation to treat a throat infection was a mistake and that it was his duty to the French people to be transparent.

Other than scrapping a scheduled visit to the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel on the Channel coast to promote tourism, Sarkozy's office has made no announcements concerning changes to his official schedule.

On Tuesday, the president posted a message on his Facebook page saying he was doing "very well" following what he termed a minor incident and thanking friends for their support and concern.

AFP / Expatica

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