Sarkozy sacks spokesman after local elections defeat: source

18th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Sarkozy revamped his communications team, sacking his official spokesman after his right-wing party suffered losses in local elections

   PARIS, March 18, 2008 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy revamped his communications team on Monday, sacking his official spokesman after his
right-wing party suffered losses in local elections, an Elysee source said.
   David Martinon, the 36-year-old spokesman who broke new ground by holding
weekly press briefings at the Elysee, has been replaced by Sarkozy's
communications adviser Franck Louvrier, 39, the source said.
   The weekly briefings are to be scrapped with Louvrier ensuring day-to-day
communications with the press, although not as official spokesman.
   Two top Sarkozy aides, Claude Gueant, the secretary general of the Elysee,
and adviser for international issues Jean-David Levitte, will be the only two
officials with the authority to speak on the record.
   A former journalist, Catherine Pegard, was also named to head a new
political affairs division within the president's communications staff, the
source added.
   The opposition Socialists took key cities from the right including Toulouse
and Strasbourg in the two-round local elections that they cast as a referendum
on Sarkozy's 10 months in office.
   The election losses came as Sarkozy is battling a drop in his approval
ratings that pollsters attribute to pessimism over the economy coupled with
the perception that the president is distracted by his personal life.
   Sarkozy divorced from his second wife Cecilia in October and four months
later married supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni after a whirlwind romance.
   Elysee sources have said the president is changing his style to project a
more statesmanlike image after earning the nickname "the Bling-Bling


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