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WORLD
November 22, 2012 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned by a judge Thursday morning over whether he received illegal political donations from an ailing French billionaire for his successful 2007 election campaign. Sarkozy, who has kept a low profile since losing his reelection bid in May, arrived at the courthouse in the southwestern city of Bordeaux to be quizzed over allegations that he was given brown envelopes stuffed with cash by France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics company fortune.
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WORLD
October 7, 2013 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- French investigators have dropped criminal charges against former President Nicolas Sarkozy for allegedly soliciting illegal campaign funds from the country's richest woman. The inquiry found insufficient evidence that Sarkozy had sought and accepted campaign money in 2007 from L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, 90, while she was in a frail mental state. Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election . The unexpected decision on Monday, just two weeks after a court ruled the investigation could proceed, clears the way for Sarkozy, who had vehemently denied the accusations, to run for reelection in 2017.
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WORLD
July 18, 2011 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
She has been described as the nearest thing France has to Barack Obama. The story of Rachida Dati, the child of illiterate North African immigrants who scrambled out of poverty to one of the highest offices in France, certainly echoes that of the U.S. president. Add her feisty, full-of-herself manner and unabashed ambition, not to mention her taste for vertigo-inducing heels and Dior dresses, and Dati brings a certain je ne sais quoi to her Gallic version of the American dream.
WORLD
November 22, 2012 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was questioned by a judge Thursday morning over whether he received illegal political donations from an ailing French billionaire for his successful 2007 election campaign. Sarkozy, who has kept a low profile since losing his reelection bid in May, arrived at the courthouse in the southwestern city of Bordeaux to be quizzed over allegations that he was given brown envelopes stuffed with cash by France's richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics company fortune.
WORLD
June 7, 2009 | Devorah Lauter, Lauter is a special correspondent.
The French news media have made much of the fact that President Obama is spending the "minimum" one-on-one time with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his weekend visit to Paris and Normandy. "Can one stay in the capital of an allied country without saying hello to your neighbor?" the French daily Le Figaro said Saturday. (The Obama family is spending the weekend at the U.S.
WORLD
November 30, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy plans to seek the French presidency, pledging to recharge the country by breaking with coveted job protections and better integrating disillusioned minorities. Polls show the conservative Sarkozy neck and neck with his rival on the left, Socialist Segolene Royal. Royal, who was nominated two weeks ago, would become France's first female president if she won the April-May elections.
WORLD
February 3, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
President Nicolas Sarkozy married former model Carla Bruni at Elysee Palace, tying the knot less than three months after they reportedly first met. The couple said in a statement that they were married "in the presence of their families in the strictest privacy." Sarkozy, 53, told reporters in January that his relationship with the Italian-born heiress, 40, was serious but refused to reveal a wedding date. Sarkozy's approval ratings dropped during their courtship. Analysts said more traditional voters were put off by his jet-setting style.
WORLD
August 24, 2007 | From Times Wire Reports
A small ring of flab around French President Nicolas Sarkozy's middle mysteriously disappeared when the weekly Paris Match published photos of him in a swimsuit. The original photos of Sarkozy canoeing with his son Louis on Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., first appeared this month in the French press, complete with his poignees d'amour, or love handles. Paris Match published the touched-up version Aug. 9. Sarkozy's office said it had nothing to do with the change.
WORLD
July 10, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony, his office said, ending his threat to boycott the event in an apparent attempt to soothe Chinese irritation over French support of Tibet. Sarkozy was the first world leader to raise the possibility of skipping the festivities to protest China's violent crackdown in Tibet after riots and protests there in March. A snub would have been a slap in the face to China's communist leadership, eager to use the Games to show off the country's clout.
WORLD
March 10, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right Union for a Popular Movement party, or UMP, suffered setbacks in the first round of local elections, threatening to tarnish his political standing. The opposition Socialists looked certain to hold Paris and Lyon, France's second city. Initial results also suggested they made gains in several cities held by the UMP and could win some notable victories in the second round on March 16.
OPINION
May 3, 2012
Re "Sarkozy, rival won't get vote of far-rightist," May 2 Note to French President Nicolas Sarkozy: Before you cozy up to the far-right Marine Le Pen, ask the Republicans how well the tea party cooperates with its benefactor. Don't forget the law of unintended consequences. Barry Davis Agoura Hills ALSO: Letters: Nathan Fletcher's GOP defection Letters: Beverly Hills' subway obstructionism Letters: Congressional deadlock over student loans
WORLD
May 3, 2012 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
PARIS - It was billed as a political duel to the death. In the right corner, Nicolas Sarkozy, incumbent president seeking reelection but trailing badly in opinion polls. In the left, Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, favored to winFrance's presidential runoff Sunday but facing an aggressive rival with nothing to lose. The pair's only live television debate, it had been described by Sarkozy as "the moment of truth. " And, as possibly his last chance to turn his fortunes around, Sarkozy had vowed to "explode" his rival.
WORLD
April 29, 2012 | By Devorah Lauter and Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
BRACHAY, France - The drive to this picturesque village nearly 200 miles southeast of Paris winds through forests and farmland where hawks stand guard on roadside fence posts and egrets glide across empty pastures. With a population of just 60, Brachay's residents say they are "the forgotten ones. " One person did remember them: Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party. The town thanked her with a record 72% vote in her favor during the first round of France's presidential election last Sunday.
WORLD
April 23, 2012 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
PARIS — Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday advanced to a presidential runoff election, as a far-right candidate surprised many observers with a strong third-place finish. Hollande and Sarkozy will face each other in the May 6 runoff, according to preliminary results of Sunday's election, though the support received by candidate Marine Le Pen seemed to reflect deep disillusionment by many voters with the main political parties in France.
WORLD
April 22, 2012 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
PARIS - Under the big top of Paris' Cirque d'Hiver, where in winter trapeze artists perform "death-defying" feats, big cats terrify and clowns trip and tumble, a middle-aged man who looks like a bank manager is waiting in the wings. On stage is the warm-up act, an earnest 94-year-old writer, whose sincerity has damped the excitement that the preceding break dancers and rappers had whipped up. Outside, circus usherettes in red-and-gold majorette jackets lounge around looking bored.
WORLD
April 19, 2012 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
PARIS - Just hours after 40,000 runners gathered at Place de la Concorde, the historic gateway to the French capital, for the start of the Paris Marathon, Nicolas Sarkozy was in the same spot for a rally marking the home stretch of a long reelection campaign. With supermodel wife Carla Bruni in the front row, the French president - and avid runner - clearly intended to show he was in fighting shape to win the race. Unfortunately, last weekend's event evoked an entirely different symbolism: Place de la Concorde is, after all, where King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, lost their heads to the guillotine.
OPINION
May 3, 2012
Re "Sarkozy, rival won't get vote of far-rightist," May 2 Note to French President Nicolas Sarkozy: Before you cozy up to the far-right Marine Le Pen, ask the Republicans how well the tea party cooperates with its benefactor. Don't forget the law of unintended consequences. Barry Davis Agoura Hills ALSO: Letters: Nathan Fletcher's GOP defection Letters: Beverly Hills' subway obstructionism Letters: Congressional deadlock over student loans
WORLD
January 9, 2008 | Geraldine Baum and Achrene Sicakyuz, Times Staff Writers
The president of France did not say he was going to get married to his new love. But he did not rule it out. What President Nicolas Sarkozy did confirm Tuesday was that his relationship with Carla Bruni, a former supermodel turned folk singer, was "serious," and that if they were to marry the news media would not be involved. "There are strong chances you will learn of it once it's done," Sarkozy told nearly 600 journalists during the annual New Year's news conference at the Elysee Palace.
OPINION
March 5, 2012
If you live in a country that truly values free speech, then no matter what opinion you hold - whether it's rational or irrational - you have the right to voice it. You can deny the Holocaust happened, or that men walked on the moon, without fear that you will be brought up on criminal charges. (Of course, you still risk public rebuke or humiliation from people who hold the opinion that you are ridiculous.) That freedom is generally considered a fundamental human right. So it was reassuring when France's Constitutional Council last week struck down a proposed law that would have criminalized the denial or minimizing of the genocide of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century.
WORLD
February 15, 2012 | By Kim Willsher, Los Angeles Times
After weeks of what the French press branded "false suspense," President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday night finally announced what everyone expected: He will seek a second term in office. Sarkozy, 57, said it was unthinkable that he would not want to remain in his post given the "unprecedented crisis in France, Europe and the world. " "It would be like a captain saying at the height of a storm that he was giving up," he said on live television. The announcement came as Sarkozy's Socialist Party rival, Francois Hollande, has pulled farther ahead in opinion polls.
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