‘Allegations of corruption to hinder Sarkozy’s presidential ambitions’
A political comeback is on the cards in France with former President Nicolas Sarkozy bidding to get his old job back on 2017. Many doubt that he’d succeed given the legacy he left after his first presidency. During this period France’s public debt reached $2.1 trillion, while unemployment was almost 10 percent. As regards Francois Hollande, Sarkozy’s main rival, he isn’t doing very well either as both debt and unemployment rates have continued to grow during his presidency.
Pierre Guerlain, Professor of Political Science at Paris West University on chances of Sarkozy and Hollande: “A lot of people dislike Hollande, they are disappointed with him, but they also disliked Sarkozy before. These two politicians are unpopular, maybe Hollande a bit more than Sarkozy. But it’s quite difficult to make a comeback when the large part of the population really dislike him, even people in his own camp are horrified by the accusations, the court cases, also a major accusation was some form of embezzlement, some form of corruption by using a company called Bygmalion to finance the campaign of Sarkozy in 2012. So Sarkozy has a lot of baggage, and unpopularity of the current President not necessarily going to help somebody who is perceived by many as corrupt and not reliable, plus also on a personal level quite vulgar.”
RT: If elections were to happen today, who has a better chance – Hollande or Sarkozy?
AD: Mr. Hollande is to such an extent unpopular that he was dubbed the most unpopular President of the Fifth Republic and that’s a long record. He is prepared to step down if he is not able to deliver what he promised. It’s a very strong message we have ever heard from the incumbent President. He realizes that his situation is very serious but it doesn’t mean that if people don’t like what President Hollande does or what he delivers, that these votes will go to Mr. Sarkozy because he is not only a former President who lost the campaign, but he is also now followed by a whole veil of corruption allegations.
In mid-October another scandal broke, it was called “Kazakh gate.” There was a discussion that he influenced Belgium authorities, the Belgium Senate to smooth their attitude towards a corrupt Kazakh businessman in Belgium. So Mr. Sarkozy is facing these allegations, of course they are just allegations, nothing is proven so far. But it’s enough for vicious tongues to say that he is looking for a president’s chair for immunity to trick his fate.
Now more favorite is Mr. Juppe, Mayor of Bordeaux, he is much better placed among both of them. Although the wife of Mr. Chirac, the former President of France, said that he is quite cold and he can’t relate to the electorate, still he has great experience and very serious record. He is the one who is able to run France.
RT: It seems that the French political scene kind of repeats itself. Who are the fresh faces to look out for?
Pierre Guerlain, Professor of Political Science at Paris West University on Sarkozy’s presidential ambitions: “If you probably know this man has 11 prosecutions against him right now. He has not been sentenced but there is a sense that he is running away from the courts, and one way to run away from the courts is to become President again because President in France cannot be prosecuted.”
AD: The fresh face is [Manuel] Valls, he is a socialist. If Hollande steps down as he says, if he is not able to improve the situation with unemployment, so it means the runner up is Valls. But of course it might be that the French don’t like socialists at all and they will choose…center-right. Also there is one very interesting face – Marine Le Pen. Although Mr. Sarkozy is criticizing her vividly and sometimes viciously, she gains popularity among the French for her sincere touch because she is able to speak directly to the electorate and she is not afraid to touch the most painful issues of French politics such as immigration, for example.
We still have time because the elections are in 2017, so there might be surprises. Hollande came into politics, into this chair as a surprise candidate because everybody expected that it was Dominique Strauss-Kahn who would take the lead. French politics is quite amusing and amazing, a very lively area. Today it’s very difficult to say but I won’t estimate the chances of Mr. Sarkozy very high because of these allegations of corruption.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.