Both leaders are the children of immigrants. Key’s father was from Great Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy’s paternal family is Hungarian. Both suffered from the absence of their father. George Key died of heart attack in 1967 when little John was only 6 years old. Paul Sarkozy left his wife Andree and his three sons when Nicolas was 4 years old. He felt abandoned by his father, who he seldom saw.
More surprising perhaps is their Jewish ancestries. John Key was raised in Christchurch by his Austrian-Jewish mother. Sarkozy’s mother is a Sephardic Jew.
Nicolas Sarkozy and John Key both live a kind of American dream. Models of success, they came from poor backgrounds but managed to become rich. Sarkozy’s father refused to give financial help and the family lived in a small house in Paris…… He [Sarkozy] began to earn well when he became a lawyer specialising in business and family law. New Zealand’s Prime Minister grew up in a state house in Christchurch. By 1995 he was earning US$ 2.25m a year, after becoming Merill Lynch’s global head of foreign exchange in London. Today he is worth an estimated NZ$ 50 million, whereas Sarkozy is worth about NZ$4 million. Nicolas Sarkozy is the first French President to give himself a raise since General De Gaulle, lifting his yearly salary from NZ$ 202,000 to NZ$ 480,000.
Both politicians have a jet-set lifestyle. Sarkozy has the nickname ‘Bling bling president’, with his Ray-Bans, Rolex and holidays on the yacht of a millionaire friend. John Key often seems much plainer in dress and more discreet in the media, but still spends holidays in his luxurious Hawaiian summer house.
Key and Sarkozy have similar taste in women. Both are married to thin brunettes with blue almond-shaped eyes. Bronagh Key has a good sense of fashion, like Sarkozy’s wife, super model Carla Bruni. Sarkozy’s ex-wife Cecilia Attias also has a striking resemblance to Bronagh Key. Mrs Key confesses to taking little notice of the wives of other politicians, mentioning Carla Bruni by name. The first ladies are both artistic women. Carla is a famous singer and Bronagh is keen on photography. As for politics, Key’s wife once voted Labour, and Carla has never hidden her socialist convictions.
Both leaders embody the change and the opening. John Key is more centrist than his national predecessors. On the French side, Sarkozy’s government has welcomed several socialist personalities, like Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner.
Both men share a harsh view on alcohol. Sarkozy has toughened France’s drink driving laws, and personally doesn’t drink a drop; almost a paradox when you think he is the chief of France. John Key voted for rising the legal drinking age from 18 back to 20, a point of view maybe linked with his father’s alcoholism.