Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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The Political Personality of 2007 French

Presidential Candidate Nicolas Sarkozy

Pascal de Sutter and Aubrey Immelman

University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, and St. Johns University, Minnesota, U.S.A.

January 2007


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement, in the 2007 French presidential election. The study was conducted from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon’s model of personality. Information concerning Sarkozy was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM–IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Sarkozy’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/exploitative and Dominant/controlling, with secondary features of the Conscientious/dutiful, Outgoing/gregarious, Dauntless/venturesome, and Contentious/resolute patterns.

The amalgam of Ambitious and Dominant patterns in combination with distinctive Contentious features in Sarkozy’s profile suggests the presence of an adaptive, nonpathological variant of Millon’s compensatory narcissist syndrome. According to Millon, people with this personality composite seek to counteract feelings of inferiority by creating illusions of superiority.

Related links:

"Un profileur décrypte Ségo et Sarko." Pascal de Sutter, Le Nouvel Observateur, 19 Avril 2007
[English translation]

Ces fous qui nous gouvernent: Comment la psychologie permet de comprendre les hommes politiques
Pascal de Sutter

"Could Sarkozy's personality cost him the election?" (AFP, April 27, 2007)

"Personality key hurdle to Sarkozy" (The Telegraph Group, April 21, 2007)

Page maintained by Aubrey Immelman

Last updated May 08, 2007