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"Sarkozy criticised"

Yesterday I linked to a Financial Times article which I thought those of you who are following the French presidential campaign might find interesting.  It's been suggested to me, though, that since the article was posted in an RP character journal, some people might refuse to follow the link.  So, just in case that's true, I'll repost the article here.

Police probe into Royal's adviser sparks political furore

Financial Times, Friday January 26 2007

By John Thornhill in Paris

******************************

A furious political argument erupted in Paris yesterday after the police intelligence service (RG) confirmed it had opened an investigation into an environmental adviser to Ségolène Royal, the Socialist party's presidential candidate.

The Socialist party demanded that Nicolas Sarkozy, the rival presidential contender from the ruling UMP party, must immediately quit as head of the interior ministry, where he is responsible for the RG and the smooth running of the electoral campaign.

Socialist politicians have already accused the UMP of dirty tricks during the election campaign and said it was a flagrant conflict of interest for Mr Sarkozy to remain interior minister while running as a presidential candidate.

However, Mr Sarkozy denied that he -- or his office -- had ordered the investigation into Bruno Rebelle, the former director of Greenpeace France, and dismissed the Socialists' complaints as "ridiculous".  "This is a tempest in a glass of water to try to make people forget the opinion polls," Mr Sarkozy said.

The RG also denied a report in Le Canard Enchainé newspaper saying that its investigation had been ordered by Mr Sarkozy's office.  The RG said it had automatically opened a file on Mr Rebelle when he joined Ms Royal's campaign team.

French politicians, from both left and right, have long accused their opponents of abusing the state apparatus while in office and ordering intelligence services to meddle in political affairs.

François Bayrou, leader of the centrist UDF party, said such disputes had been regularly surfacing in French politics for at least 25 years.  "Secret services, the abuse of state resources, telephone bugging, the Socialist party and the UMP have used them one after the other," he said.  "All this is unworthy of a normal democracy."

The added irony is that one of Ms Royal's brothers was involved in the French secret service operation in 1985 -- under the presidency of the Socialist François Mitterand -- to blow up Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship in New Zealand.

Like many other French politicians, Mr Sarkozy wears several political hats.  As well as being president of the UMP and interior minister, Mr Sarkozy also runs the department of Hauts-de-Seine, one of France's richest regions.

Mr Sarkozy has hinted that he will quit the interior ministry next month to focus on the presidential race on April 22.

But Le Monde, the influential newspaper, yesterday urged him in an editorial to resign immediately.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
babycakesin
Jan. 29th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
oh yeah... this is yet another case of major eye rolling over here lol pleasepleaseplease don't let him be elected!
jenni_snake
Jan. 29th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
You know what strikes me about this article? The following line:

"The RG said it had automatically opened a file on Mr Rebelle when he joined Ms Royal's campaign team."

So what does that mean? The Ministry of the Interior opens files whenever anyone joins Royal's team? It opens files whenever anyone joins the PS? It opens files on Mr Rebelle automatically because they were suspicious of his name?? None of those answers would make me feel better, actually...

I'm feeling a bit like Eddie at the moment. "Ahhhhhh...hhhh... hhh... hh.. h."
aswanargent
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
Who or what is Eddie?
jenni_snake
Jan. 30th, 2007 09:04 am (UTC)
You know, Eddie Izzard, British transvestite stand-up comedian. He's hilarious! I already gave you a link to one of his stand up pieces about cats and dogs, and tsk tsk, looks like you didn't look at it... I'm going to stop giving you links, missy! ;)
babycakesin
Jan. 30th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
damn, I hadn't even noticed the sentence! as if it was a given that the government would have a file on everyone even remotely connected with a presidential election. Then again... I don't how it is in the US: does the FBI have a file on every government employee? (The West Wing didn't cover this). Mmm... interesting question, Holmes!
jenni_snake
Jan. 31st, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Ok, here's another interesting question... well, actually, let me start with another question: what powers does the President of France actually possess? I suppose I mean insofar as making laws, etc.?
babycakesin
Jan. 31st, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
let me see if I can remember correctly...
- he is the commander in chief of the army
- he gets to nominate the Prime Minister of his choice
- he can get rid of the Assemblee if he so wishes
- he decides most of what gets discussed in the Assemblee
- he can ask for a referundum
- he can propose a law, and he can veto a law. he can impose a law too, but I don't know if Chirac has used this power.
- he can get all three powers if there is a crisis (executive, legislative, judiciary). No one has used this power except for De Gaulle.
Of course, all these are particular to the Fifth Republic, he was different before.
jenni_snake
Jan. 31st, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting - I feel a bit more informed now. And also, it allows me to pose my next (rather horrific) question:

If, and I know this is a rather big if, but if it came down to Sarkozy and Le Pen in the second round - who would it be?
babycakesin
Feb. 1st, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
well, if I had to pick between Sarkozy and Le Pen, of course I would pick Sarkozy. I can't admit the idea of having a far right president. Le Pen participated in torture during the Algerian war, dammit! I don't want that as my next president. Sarkozy would be the lesser of the two evils.

but I really, really, really hope it won't come to that.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )