DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN: Dominique de Villepin, then Prime Minister of France, was the mouthpiece for French anti-war opinion. On 14 February 2003, he addressed the UN in opposition to a second resolution on Iraq, earning loud applause. In the run-up to the 2007 French presidential election, de Villepin was touted as a rival to Nicolas Sarkozy for the candidacy of the centre-right UMP party. Sarkozy was implicated in a corruption scandal over arms sales to Taiwan. When the charges proved insubstantial, it was revealed that de Villepin had been aware of their falsity, but had allegedly used the affair to taint his rival. Sarkozy ran unopposed for the UMP candidacy, was reluctantly endorsed by de Villepin, and ended up in the Elysée Palace. De Villepin has earned back some respect from the French public with his criticism of Sarkozy's unpopular regime.