Prior to his presidency, Sarkozy was appointed as Minister of State, Minister of the Interior and Spatial Planning under Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (2005). Previously, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin appointed Sarkozy to Minister of the Interior, Internal Security and Local Freedoms (2002-2004), followed by an appointment to Minister of State, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry (April-November 2004). Shortly after his second appointment under Raffarin, Sarkozy resigned after being elected president of the French political party, Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), with 85.1% of the vote (November 2004).
Earlier in his career, Sarkozy held a wide variety of political positions. He was elected president of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine in 2004, prior to which he served as president of the Departmental Committee for the Rally for the Republic political party (RPR) of Hauts-de-Seine (2000-2004). He held a number of other positions for RPR including acting chairman (1999), general secretary (1998), coordinator and spokesman for the transition team (1997), member of the Political Bureau (1993), deputy secretary general (1992-1993) and co-director of the union list for the European elections (1989). In 1988, he was the national secretary of the RPR, responsible for youth and training, and served in a similar role the following year with the additional responsibility of animation.
Other political positions have included: member of the Hauts-de-Seine 6th constituency (1988-2002), vice-chairman of the General Council of Hauts-de-Seine, in charge of education and culture (1986-1988), mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine (1983-2002) and councilor of Neuilly-sur-Seine (1977).
The recipient of numerous honors and accolades, Sarkozy's decorations include the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Charles III (Spain), Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom), Knight of the Golden Fleece (Spain), Tolerance Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (2003), the Humanitarian Award from the Elie Wiesel Foundation (2008) and the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (2008).
A prolific writer, Sarkozy is the author of the following: Georges Mandel, The Monk Policy (1994); After the Passion, Balance: Interview with Michel Denisot (1995); Free (2001); The Republic, Religions, Hope (2004); Testimony (2006) and Together (2007).
After completing his undergraduate education in political science at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Sarkozy completed his masters degree in private law (1978) and his certificate to practice law (1981).
Born in Paris on January 28, 1955, Sarkozy is married and has four children. Prior to his political career, he worked as a lawyer and was a member of the Paris Bar Association.