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Pressure on Nicolas Sarkozy

  • September 5th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

sarkozy_officielle3.jpgThe French President, Nicolas Sarkozy (picture), is facing some daunting tasks to restore his position six months away from the presidential elections.

His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, faced a corruption trial this week – absent from court due to illness.

DOWN IN THE POLLS

hollande-francois.jpgA new voter-intentions poll reported in Le Monde has the President 18% behind the Socialist party (PS) front-runner, Francois Hollande (picture), in a prospective second-round run-off.

The newspaper says:

“Francois Hollande, already ahead of the pack in voting intentions for the Socialist party primary, in poll after poll has confirmed his strong position if he was made PS candidate.”

The Ifop poll of 2000 voters commissioned by the Sunday newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche, positions the candidate in the first round with 29% of the popular vote, ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy on 23.5%, and Marine Le Pen from the anti-immigration Front National on 18.5%.

His closest rival for the Socialist nomination, Martine Aubry, would get 25% of the initial vote (54% in the final), according to the latest poll.

Segolene Royale, the party’s 2007 candidate, looks to have suffered hard blow in the polling, which suggests she would be beaten into third position by Ms Le Pen.

Nicolas Sarkozy, with his conservative government, is in an awkward policy bind having gone for austerity measures including reductions in government services and employment, at a time of nagging concern about a possible quick return to economic recession in Europe.

See EUAustralia Online: “Test of wills: protests stay …”, 21.10.10; “French government pushes through pensions vote”, 23.10.10; “France: Poll anoints Hollande PS front-runner”, 26.8.11.

L’AFFAIRE BETTENCOURT

He is under fire in other quarters, notably over the “affaire Bettencourt”.

The heiress of the l’Oreal cosmetics company, Liliane Bettencourt, is alleged to have handed out cash in envelopes to conservative politicians, in appreciation of certain taxation benefits.

Mr Sarkozy was her local Mayor, in the plush Paris neighbourhood of Neuilly.

A new book contains a fresh version of the charges, made by none other than Isabelle Prevost-Desprez, an investigating magistrate who was involved in investigations of the Bettencourt case.

She tells of witnesses who felt intimidated and would not stand by their statements, not least one who claimed to have seen the Mayor taking money.

French Presidents cannot be prosecuted until they have gone from office; the dossier in the meantime is being presented in the court of public opinion.

See EUAustralia Online, “Sarkozy’s trouble on two fronts”, 15.9.10.

JACQUES CHIRAC: ON TRIAL, ABSENT, AILING
chirac-004.jpgThis week, the trial began in Paris of the former President, Jacques Chirac (picture, in office), on embezzlement charges long delayed while he stayed on in office, as President, 1995-2007,  before that as Paris Mayor, 1977-1995.

He is accused of using his position as Mayor of Paris to put political operatives of his own political party, the conservative RPR, on the public payroll.

If found guilty he would be eligible for heavy fines, banning from any other public office, and on paper at least, gaoling for up to a decade.

Mr Chirac did not attend court, his lawyers indicating he might never go there.

He is reported to be chronically ill with anosognosia, a physiological condition that renders the sufferer of a disability, unable to recognise or understand that disability.

It is counted with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, with authoritative claims being made since the start of the year that he has the disease.

See EUAustralia Online, “Chirac trial: end of immunity”, 8.3.11.

Reference

Le Monde, Paris, Sarkozy mis en cause dans l’affaire Bettencourt (Sarkozy called into question in the Bettencourt case), 5.9.11. www.lemonde.fr, (5.9.11).

Le Monde, Paris,  Jacques Chirac souffre d’anosognosie (Jacques Chirac is suffering from anosognosia), 4.9.11. www.lemonde.fr, (5.9.211).

Heather Smith, “Chirac’s No-Show Jobs Trial Resumes in Paris”, Bloomberg, NY, 5.9.11. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-04/chirac-s-no-show-jobs-trial-resumes-in-paris.html, (5.9.11).

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