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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 22:33 GMT
Sarkozy vows to boost confidence
By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Paris

Nicolas Sarkozy gives a live interview on French TV - 29/11/2007
Mr Sarkozy said he was not going back on his reform promises
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to rebuild public confidence following weeks of strikes and an outbreak of riots in the Paris suburbs.

In a live televised interview, the president said France would never solve its problems by shying away from the tough reforms.

Mr Sarkozy is under growing pressure to rejuvenate a flagging economy.

New poll figures suggest the French are increasingly pessimistic about employment and inflation pressures.

Wide dissatisfaction

They are feeling pretty glum at the moment.

They have less money in their pockets, things in the shops cost more, their lives are disrupted by strikes - and once again there have been riots in the suburbs.

Police in Villiers-le-Bel
Police have faced angry, armed protesters in Paris suburbs
The wide dissatisfaction is reflected in the president's poll ratings that are now sagging under the weight of expectation.

But in a live televised interview, Mr Sarkozy sought to reassure the people who had voted him in.

"I am not going backwards," he said. "I have only been here six months - it's still early days."

He pledged his government would breathe new life into the most deprived suburbs, while insisting they would hunt down rioters who had opened fire on the police earlier in the week.

On the economy, in the face of more strikes, he said there will be no turning back from the tough reforms France still requires.

But critics say there is very little room in the government's budget for any unplanned spending, and consumer confidence - crucial to the wider health of the economy - shows no sign of improvement.

French people are worried about the cost of living, higher petrol, housing and food prices.

Six months into his presidency, Mr Sarkozy has plenty of promises to fulfil - and very little room to manoeuvre.

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