2 Jan 2011

California's movie-star governor leaves office

9:59 pm on 2 January 2011

California's movie-star governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is leaving office after seven years in power.

The man they dubbed "the Governator" was swept to power with a promise to fix the state's economy.

Austrian-born Mr Schwarzenegger, a former Mr Universe, world-class bodybuilder and Hollywood action star, stormed into office as the 38th governor of California in a special recall election in 2003.

During his two terms in office, the region's economy went from bad to worse reports the BBC.

He will be replaced on Monday by Jerry Brown, the Democrat who beat the billionaire Republican businesswoman Meg Whitman in the November election.

Mr Schwarzenegger frequently locked horns with his Democratic rivals in the state legislature.

He famously expressed his frustration in a colourful speech to the Republican National Convention in 2004.

"To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say, 'Don't be economic girlie men!'" the governor said.

He received rapturous applause.

Mr Schwarzenegger will be remembered more favourably, by his supporters, for his environmental initiatives.

He helped to introduce some of America's toughest laws to try to combat global warming.