Elected on a platform of revitalizing the French economy by embracing free-market reforms, in the wake of the global crisis French President Nicolas Sarkozy changed his tune and went much further than any other world leader in denouncing the excesses of the capitalist system.
The charismatic centre-right politician, who was married for the third time – to Italian singer and model Carla Bruni - shortly after taking office, raised eyebrows when he told a press conference on September 23 that modern capitalism had evolved into a "crazy system."
At a rally of supporters on September 25, he denounced the concept of an "all-powerful market that cannot be contradicted by any rules, by any political intervention," and added, "the idea that the market is always right is a crazy idea."
"A certain concept of globalization is dying with the end of a financial capitalism that imposed its own logic on the whole economy and contributed to perverting it," he said, adding that "Laissez-faire is finished".
President Sarkozy called on world leaders to hold a summit by year's end to "rebuild a regulated form of capitalism." He was one of the main driving forces behind the Washington G20 summit that took place on the weekend of November 15-16. He is a strong supporter of inviting China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies to sit at the top table with the G8 countries and play a greater role in the international financial system.
Mr. Sarkozy, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, has caused controversy on several occasions in the past with his political statements. In 2005, following domestic disturbances, he called for the "pressure cleansing" of some suburban areas and referred to local youth as "thugs" and "rabble".
It is thought that during this year's financial crisis President Sarkozy was irritated by the amount of media attention being given to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose plan to re-finance banks was used as a model by several other countries.
(China.org.cn by John Sexton, November 17, 2008)