Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Nicolas Sarkozy v Dominique de Villepin

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin are long standing political rivals. Here, we detail their differences.

Dominique de Villepin
Ex-Prime Minister of France
Nicolas Sarkozy
President of France
Famous for
His silver haired, aristrocratic good looks; leading the opposition to the war in Iraq and a rare applause at the UN for a speech against military action in Iraq; writing poetry and a book on Napoleon. A very public romance with Carla Bruni; being the "bling bling" president due to his love of Rolex watches and holidays on luxury yachts; describing young delinquents in Paris as racaille or "rabble"; negotiating the end to a nursery school siege.
Thoughts on rival
Is said to refer to him as "that dwarf" in private. Promised to hang ex-PM "on a butcher's hook" (de Villepin told court).
Graduated from the elite ENA school to become a career diplomat before being chosen as Jacques Chirac's chief of staff. The president's patronage ensured his swift rise to become Prime Minister without ever being elected as an MP, or even a local councillor. Became a lawyer before entering politics and rapidly rose through the ranks to become a protégé of Jacques Chirac. Fell out with his boss after backing a rival for the 1995 presidency.
Elected president in 2007.
Previous jobs
Diplomat, Foreign minister, Interior minister Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Budget minister, Finance minister, Interior minister
Married to
Marie-Laure Le Guay Carla Bruni
Born in Morocco to a French diplomat and a member of the Senate. Born in Paris to a Hungarian minor aristocrat and a French mother of Greek Jewish origin.
Full name
Dominique Marie Francois Rene Galouzeau de Villepin Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa
In quotes
"The seagull is intoxicated by the sky. She turns, carried by the winds, with undulating wing, uttering from time to time her agonising peal of laughter..."
(from The Shark and the Seagull, a poetry anthology)
"I don't want to be president. I must be president."

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