French Politics

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 345–363 | Cite as

Leadership and style in the French Fifth Republic: Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency in historical and cultural perspective

  • John Gaffney
Research Article


This article contributes to the body of the developing theoretical research in leadership and presidential studies by adding analysis of what I have termed ‘comportmental style’ as a factor in leader/follower relations. Within institutionalism and the wider structure/agency debate in political science, one of the challenges as regards the study of leadership is to identify factors that offer scope to or else militate against leaders’ performance. The comportmental style of Nicolas Sarkozy (President of the French Republic 2007–2012), deployed in the context of the – changing – institution of the presidency, was a major factor in his extreme unpopularity, and contributed to his defeat in 2012. What this tells us about the nature of the changing French presidency and the role of style will be discussed in the conclusion.


France presidency Sarkozy style institutionalism 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gaffney
    • 1
  1. 1.Politics and International Relations, Aston UniversityBirminghamUK

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