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Sarkozy officially sworn in as French president

Nicolas Sarkozy was officially sworn in as French president on Wednesday at the presidential palace.

Sarkozy was declared president after former President Jacques Chirac, who had ruled the country over the past 12 years, left the Elysee Palace. Before the inauguration, the two leader held private talks, in which Chirac gave Sarkozy the codes for France’s nuclear arsenal.

The 52-year-old Sarkozy was proclaimed president when the head of France’s Constitutional Council, Jean-Louis Debre, read out the results of the May 6 presidential election during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace. He then received the insignia of office in the Elysee’s plush Salle des Fetes room and made his inaugural speech to friends, family, and leading politicians.

During the speech, the new president reiterated his proposals to safeguard the environment, bring back the value of the French tradition, protect the country’s identity, restore full employment, boost living standards, and called on the country to be united. He will then lay a floral tribute at the tomb of the unknown soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

Within hours, Sarkozy will fly to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel to show the importance of Franco-German relations. (english.people.com.cn)