Sarkozy the toast of sleepy Hungarian village

8th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

ALATTYAN, Hungary, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - The day after Nicolas Sarkozy was elected the next president of France, the sleepy Hungarian village of Alattyan awoke with a heavy champagne hangover and a new-found sense of pride.

ALATTYAN, Hungary, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - The day after Nicolas Sarkozy was elected the next president of France, the sleepy Hungarian village of Alattyan awoke with a heavy champagne hangover and a new-found sense of pride.

Some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Budapest and 1,700 kilometers from the Elysee Palace in Paris, Alattyan was the hunting ground of the aristocratic Sarkozy family, where Nicolas' father Pal used to vacation as a child, before deciding to emigrate to France in the last years of World War II.

"Oh my God! The little Sarkozy is going to go to the Elysee! What a miracle," exclaimed Justina Kiss, whose godfather and godmother worked as servants in the nearby chateau where the Sarkozys used to stay.

Justina, now retired, was a little girl when the "charming and handsome" Pal was a teenager enjoying the good life in the countryside and she had followed the French presidential campaign carefully, including the heated television debate between Sarkozy and the Socialist candidate Segolene Royal.

"He is so young and full of energy but he knew how to behave like a gentleman during the debate. He kept his cool," Justina told AFP.

"We wish him all the success for his mandate and we congratulate his father Pal for his fantastic son," she said.

The mayor of Alattyan, Gabor Koczkas, has also become an expert in French politics.

"We monitored the campaign on every media at our disposal," Koczkas said, adding that he was "happy but not surprised" that Sarkozy came out on top at the end.

Koczkas said he had already written a congratulatory letter to Sarkozy, which "will not only be signed by the mayor but everyone in Alattyan including Justina."

Meanwhile in Budapest, Sarkozy's 92-year old great-aunt, Mariann, said she was "elated" but "not the least bit surprised" at his election victory on Sunday.

"I was elated to hear that Nicolas won, we are so proud of him," Mariann told AFP Sunday in a telephone interview from her home.

"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I could have predicted two years ago that he would win. He has such drive, has so much experience and is so talented and intelligent. He was mayor for 20 years and did a great job both as a finance and interior minister," she said.

Nicolas Sarkozy's grandfather and Mariann's father were brothers.

Although Nicolas Sarkozy was born in France, speaks no Hungarian and has had little contact with the central European country, he did emphasize his immigrant origins in the presidential campaign, saying it was his work ethic that permitted him to rise to the pinnacle of French politics.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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