Sarkozy a 'thin-skinned authoritarian'

  • @tompeck

US embassy cables have detailed how French President Nicolas Sarkozy's staff and ministers fear their leader's temper, and were concerned about the impact of his personal life on his presidency.

A confidential memo to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, from ambassador Charles Rivkin in December 2009, said of Sarkozy: "Elysée contacts have reported to us the great lengths they will go to avoid disagreeing with him or provoking his displeasure – even recently reportedly rerouting the President's plane to avoid his seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up in Turkey's colours on the visit of PM [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan."

An earlier note to President Bush warned of "raising questions about a thin-skinned and authoritarian personal style". The memo also warned of the impact of Sarkozy's second wife, Cecilia, leaving him.

"On permanent overdrive and intense in the best of times, Sarkozy's recent divorce raises questions about his ability to maintain his equilibrium and focus," it reads.