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Sarkozy's party says health scare was minor incident

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-07-29

French President Nicolas Sarkozy left the Val-de-Grace military hospital on Monday where he spent a night under observation after briefly collapsing while jogging on Sunday. Officials said Sarkozy suffered minor trouble with his vagus nerve.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy left Val-de-Grace military hospital on Monday morning where he was hospitalised overnight after suffering a mild nerve attack on Sunday while jogging at his weekend retreat at La Lanterne.  

FRANCE 24 health correspondent Eve Irvine said Sarkozy walked out of the hospital around 11 am Paris time (GMT+2) to meet his car at the entrance gate, but was not expected to return to work immediately. 
"His appointments for today have been cancelled, and also for tomorrow," Irvine said from outside the Val-de-Grace hospital after Sarkozy's motorcade left the scene. After Wednesday's final cabinet meeting before the summer holidays, Sarkozy will have "three weeks to fully recuperate on the French Riviera," Irvine added.

According to his chief of staff, the French head of state had been “doing well” during his hospital stay and talking normally with medical staff.


A witness, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP she had seen a jogger surrounded by bodyguards suddenly stumble and collapse in the wooded grounds of La Lanterne.


Shortly afterwards, First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy rushed to the scene on a motor scooter, the witness said.


Sarkozy was seen immediately by a doctor and underwent medical tests, a statement from the Elysée Palace said.


The 54-year-old French leader was admitted to the Val de Grace military hospital in southern Paris. Close presidential aides say the attack was related to his vagus nerve, which helps the body regulate its heart rate, and doctors consider it “minor”. 

'Speedy Sarkozy'

Sarkozy won the 2007 presidential election on a promise to kick-start the county’s sluggish economy. His hands-on and aggressive style of governing has won him the nickname of "hyperpresident".


“He is not just president; he is also prime minister, de-facto leader of the ruling UMP party and, depending on the issue, finance minister, education minister, et cetera," said Herve Algalarrondo, deputy editor-in-chief of French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, in an interview with FRANCE 24. "He never takes time for a break, and doesn’t make things easy for himself,” Algalarrondo added.


 “A fitness enthusiast, Sarkozy is, on the face of it at least, the healthiest president France has ever had,” French politics analyst David Crossan told FRANCE 24. “But the hectic schedule he keeps up is inevitably going to take a toll” on the president, Crossan said, citing the head of state's nickname, “Speedy Sarkozy”.


Just over three weeks ago, the Elysee released the results of Sarkozy's latest annual health check-up, describing the results of recent blood and heart tests as "normal". During his campaign, Sarkozy had promised to publish regular and transparent health bulletins, in contrast with former socialist president François Mitterrand, who hid his battle with prostate cancer from the public.


Critics were therefore angered when it was revealed in January 2008 that Sarkozy was briefly hospitalised in 2007 for minor throat surgery without publicising the fact.


According to Crossan, “People will begin to ask if it’s time for Speedy Sarkozy to slow down."


Date created : 2009-07-28