Before his presidency, he was leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Under Jacques Chirac's presidency he served as Minister of the Interior in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's (UMP) first two governments (from May 2002 to March 2004), then was appointed Minister of Finances in Raffarin's last government (March 2004 to May 2005) and again Minister of the Interior in Dominique de Villepin's government (2005 � 2007).
Sarkozy was also president of the General council of the Hauts-de-Seine department from 2004 to 2007 and mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, one of the wealthiest communes of France from 1983 to 2002. He was Minister of the Budget in the government of Édouard Balladur (RPR, predecessor of the UMP) during François Mitterrand's last term.
Sarkozy is known for wanting to revitalize the French economy.
In foreign affairs he has promised a strengthening of the entente cordiale with the United Kingdom and closer cooperation with the United States. He married singer-songwriter Carla Bruni on 2 February 2008 at the Élysée Palace in Paris.