Archive for the ‘Sarkozy’ Category


The Economist (@EconEurope)
10/17/11 2:07 PM
François Hollande wins the French Socialist primary and will now join battle to topple Nicolas Sarkozy next year.

We have a Winner!

THE decisive victory of François Hollande at the Socialist Party primary yesterday marks the countdown to France’s 2012 presidential election. A former party leader and long-time apparatchik, Mr Hollande secured 57% of the vote, next to 43% for his rival, Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille. His nomination was backed by all four of the defeated first-round candidates, and the margin of victory was clear, raising hopes among left-wing voters that he will be able to unify the party around his candidacy.
In a telling image broadcast live last night, Mr Hollande embraced Ms Aubry and each of the defeated first-round candidates before cheering crowds outside the Socialist headquarters on the Paris left bank. It was a carefully orchestrated show of unity, after a campaign that had exposed not only ideological but personal differences among the candidates.
Beside Mr Hollande stood a grinning Arnaud Montebourg, whose protectionist campaign for “deglobalisation” secured him a surprise 17%, and third place, in the first-round vote, and even Ségolène Royal, Mr Hollande’s former partner and mother of their four children, who was beaten into fourth place in the first round with just 7%.
In the end, Mr Hollande benefited from his poll lead as favourite both to win the nomination, and to beat Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president, in next spring’s election. Mr Montebourg, who took great delight between the first and second rounds in playing an extravagant courtship game with the two finalists, finally announced that he would vote for Mr Hollande—but only because he looked the better-placed to win the presidency. Mr Hollande has topped such polls ever since Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF managing director, was excluded from the race after his arrest in New York on sexual-assault charges that were later dropped.
The Socialist primary exercise has put the party in extraordinarily buoyant mood. For one thing, turn-out, already high in the first round, was even stronger yesterday, with 2.8m votes cast by left-leaning voters. This has lent the party a fresh, modern air.
For another, the Socialists now seem set to rally behind Mr Hollande, an instinctive consensus-seeker. Last time round, when Ms Royal won the primary to become the Socialists’ 2007 presidential candidate, the party was deeply divided, and she led her somewhat solitary election campaign from outside the party hierarchy.
This time, Mr Hollande has urged unity, and reached out to his defeated rival. Like the Labour Party ahead of Britain’s 1997 general election, the French Socialists seem to be so fed up with losing elections that they will do whatever it takes to win. The last presidential election they won was in 1988.
Although all polls suggest that Mr Hollande would beat Mr Sarkozy hands down were the presidential vote held today—one this month gave him 60% next to Mr Sarkozy’s 40%—there are plenty of obstacles in the way.
One is that Mr Hollande now has to try to reconcile the left wing of his party, represented by Mr Montebourg, with the social-democratic middle. He needs the left-wingers if only to stave off a far-left threat from outside the party, where a grumpy anti-establishment politician, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, enjoys support.
Yet Mr Hollande also needs to appeal to the centre if he is to pick up voters disillusioned with Mr Sarkozy. This will mean some complicated political gymnastics, and will expose him to a charge of incoherence that the right has already identified. During the primary campaign, Mr Hollande called in one breath for ambitious deficit-reduction and in another for the creation of up to 70,000 new teaching jobs.
Mr Sarkozy, who has yet to declare his candidacy, has been notably absent from the airwaves in recent months. Once he throws in his hat officially, the poll gap between the two politicians could narrow, not least because the president is a formidable campaigner.
Mr Sarkozy will doubtless make much of the inexperience of Mr Hollande, who has never held a ministerial job. Mr Hollande will point to rising debt and deficits on Mr Sarkozy’s watch. In the end, the choice will be only partly political: it will also be between a big hyperactive personality with experience but mixed results, and a largely charisma-free alternative in Mr Hollande, who campaigns as a “normal” candidate. After the whirlwind of Mr Sarkozy, that could just be what voters want.

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This article, published in France’s Le Monde, analyzes the use of the police’s investigations and information, by successive French Presidents….

De tout temps, la police a été l’instrument du pouvoir. Avant d’accéder à la présidence de la République, François MitterrandJacques Chirac et Nicolas Sarkozy sont tous passés par la Place Beauvau    
[Throughout history, the police has been the instrument of those in power. Before becoming president of the Republic, François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy have all passed through Place Beauvau]

It’s in French, so use the Google translator tool to help you read it in the language of your choice.
Sexe, politique et police des mœurs – LeMonde.fr
Avertie en continu, la Préfecture de police de Paris centralise les informations sensibles.
Avertie en continu, la Préfecture de police de Paris centralise les informations sensibles.AFP/ERIC FEFERBERG
L’Elysée, bien plus que les médias, n’ignorait rien de la vie privée de Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Le pouvoir, alimenté par ses relais dans la police, sait tout des secrets les plus intimes des hommes politiques, jusqu’à user des informations graveleuses dont il dispose.
Ainsi, des proches de Nicolas Sarkozy avaient pris soin de laisser “fuiter” auprès du Monde, ces derniers mois, l’existence d’une note, rédigée peu avant la présidentielle de 2007, par un policier de la base. Quelques lignes signalant la présence de M. Strauss-Kahn, surpris en fâcheuse posture dans une voiture, à l’ouest de Paris, dans un haut lieu des rencontres tarifées, à l’occasion d’un banal contrôle.
Sollicités, ni la Préfecture de police de Paris ni le ministère de l’intérieur n’ont souhaité confirmer – ou démentir – l’existence de cette note. Trois sources différentes ont pourtant assuré au Monde que ce rapport avait existé, et qu’il avait été porté à la connaissance de l’entourage de M.Sarkozy.
Selon l’une de ces sources, l’original de cette note a été passé au broyeur. A l’époque des faits, il fut décidé, en haut lieu, de ne pas donner de suites à cette affaire sur le plan pénal – ou médiatique. Candidat malheureux à la primaire du PS fin 2006, DSK ne présentait pas alors le même enjeu pour le pouvoir. Et c’est en parfaite connaissance de cause que M. Sarkozy, une fois élu, le propulsa à la tête du Fonds monétaire international (FMI).
Mais ces derniers mois, au fur et à mesure de la progression de DSK dans les sondages, des hommes de confiance de M.Sarkozy se sont vantés devant des journalistes de “tenir” le patron du FMI, dont ils menaçaient de révéler les frasques. C’est ainsi que cette note a refait providentiellement surface. Au même moment, le chef de l’Etat se posait en “moine trappiste”, par opposition à la réputation de coureur de jupons de DSK.
ÉQUIPE LA MIEUX RENSEIGNÉE DE FRANCE
C’est un fait : M.Sarkozy, depuis 2002, connaît certains aspects de la vie privée des personnalités susceptibles de présenter un jour un danger électoral. A son arrivée au ministère de l’intérieur, il a constitué une équipe de fidèles qui lui doivent tout. De Bernard Squarcini, patron de la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), à Claude Guéant, ministre de l’intérieur, en passant parAlain Gardère, directeur adjoint du cabinet de ce dernier, ou Michel Gaudin, préfet de police de Paris, cette équipe est la mieux renseignée de France.
Fin avril, DSK avait d’ailleurs identifié le danger, comme l’a rapporté Libération : son appétence pour les femmes, certes, mais surtout les méthodes supposées de M. Guéant, à l’origine selon lui de la propagation des rumeurs sur sa vie intime.
De tout temps, la police a été l’instrument du pouvoir. Avant d’accéder à la présidence de la République, François MitterrandJacques Chirac et Nicolas Sarkozy sont tous passés par la Place Beauvau. Lors de son retour à l’intérieur, en juin 2005, M.Sarkozy avait confié :“Je serai mieux protégé.”
De fait, il en profita pour retourner l’affaire Clearstream en sa faveur, et surtout placer ses hommes aux postes clés. L’une de ses premières mesures fut de renvoyer Gérard Dubois, un conseiller du préfet de police – chiraquien – Philippe Massoni, accusé de s’être répandu sur la liaison de son épouse de l’époque, Cécilia, avec Richard Attias.
Il est vrai que les policiers, qu’ils appartiennent aux renseignements généraux (RG, désormais fondus dans la DCRI), à la sécurité publique, voire à la brigade de répression du proxénétisme, reçoivent des renseignements ultrasensibles. Ainsi, les patrons de boîtes échangistes ont pour coutume de signaler à la police – avec qui ils soignent leurs relations – la présence de personnalités politiques dans leurs soirées.
Etablissement connu du centre de Paris où le libertinage se célèbre au quotidien, Les Chandelles ont ainsi inspiré plus d’un “blanc”(note sans en-tête ni signature) aux RG. Les services sont aussi capables d’aller creuser des détails incongrus : durant la campagne présidentielle de 2007, les RG planchèrent ainsi sur le coût de la garde-robe de Ségolène Royal
MÉCANIQUE EXTRÊMEMENT EFFICACE
Les renseignements les plus “utiles” remontent naturellement à l’Elysée. C’était déjà le cas sous d’autres présidences. Dans les années 1990, les RG enquêtèrent ainsi sur la vie privée deBertrand Delanoë ou de Jack Lang. Des notes blanches furent même établies. Rien n’était étayé, mais plus d’un journaliste fut bénéficiaire de drôles de “tuyaux”
Etiqueté chiraquien, Yves Bertrand, patron des RG de 1992 à 2004, joua un rôle central dans ce dispositif. Mis en cause pour s’être intéressé à la vie intime des politiques, il assume ses enquêtes très “privées”, se voyant même“réhabilité” par l’affaire DSK, qu’il qualifie de“victoire posthume” ! “Je ne sais rien de l’affaire du Sofitel, mais de manière générale, cela prouve qu’il est légitime de s’intéresser à la vie privée des hommes politiques. D’ailleurs, on me commandait parfois des enquêtes pour savoir si une personne pressentie au gouvernement avait des fragilités”, dit-il.
L’un de ses principaux interlocuteurs était Claude Guéant. “Lorsqu’il était directeur de la police (1994-1998) puis du cabinet du ministre(2002-2004), je lui rendais compte de tout. Il notait ce que je lui rapportais, y compris les éléments privés, dans des petits cahiers”, affirme-t-il.
M. Guéant avait pourtant assuré en 2008 à Mediapart : “Concernant des éléments de vie privée relatifs à des personnalités, il n’en a jamais été question dans nos discussions.”Arme de déstabilisation – ou de dissuasion – contre un adversaire menaçant, la “police des mœurs” sert, parfois, à défendre le président.
La DCRI a ainsi mobilisé ses forces en 2010 pour savoir d’où provenaient les ragots sur le couple présidentiel. Suspectée, Rachida Dati fut mise sous surveillance. Même les plus fidèles des sarkozystes ne sont pas à l’abri de cette mécanique extrêmement efficace.

Gérard Davet et Fabrice LhommeArticle paru dans l’édition du 25.05.11


It’s not just the third world where they like unmarked envelopes….

Sleaze Factor

Is there an epidemic of corruption in the world’s democracies?

BY JOSHUA E. KEATING | JULY 12, 2010

From Angola to Uzbekistan, Haiti to Zimbabwe, in far too many countries around the world, blatant official corruption not only goes unpunished — it’s the norm. But while we normally associate bribery, cronyism, and extortion with fragile developing states, the leaders of some of the world’s most stable and prosperous democracies have recently been investigated on criminal charges. Is this a case of those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, or does it mean that we’re getting better at catching powerful crooks?
FRANCE
The target: President Nicolas Sarkozy
The alleged crimes: Illegal cash payments
The investigation: French prosecutors recently investigated allegations that Sarkozy illegally received cash in unmarked envelopes from Liliane Bettencourt, France’s richest woman, as a presidential candidate in 2007. According to Bettencourt’s former accountant, the L’Oreal heir’s financial advisor gave €150,000 to the treasurer of Sarkozy’s campaign — an allegation denied by both parties. The former treasurer, who is now labor minister, was officially cleared of wrongdoing, but opponents say the investigation by France’s finance inspector was not impartial.
“L’affaire Bettencourt” is just the latest scandal to hit Sarkozy’s administration, including the resignation of two junior ministers who spent thousands of dollars on cigars and Caribbean vacations, and a corruption scandal involving one of Sarkozy’s closest friends and political allies who was implicated in a multimillion-dollar insider-trading scheme in 2007. But in the wake of the financial crisis and an unpopular pension-reform plan, this time the president might be fighting for his political career: On July 12, Sarkozy took the unusual step of appearing on national television to deny the charges.
Sarkozy’s allies have denounced the allegations as a left-wing “political plot,” and indeed there seem to be some large holesin the allegations made by Bettencourt’s advisor. But Sarkozy’s opponents will likely have little sympathy. His longtime political rival, former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, was the subject of a five-year investigation and trial over allegations that he faked documents that linked Sarkozy to bribes while the two politicians were angling for the presidency. De Villepin was cleared of the charges — though three of his colleagues were convicted — and has maintained that the investigation was nothing but a political vendetta by the president.
ITALY
The target: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
The alleged crimes: Corruption, organized crime
The investigation: Berlusconi claims with pride that he is “the most legally persecuted man of all time.” More than 109 cases have been brought against him, ranging from nonpayment of taxes to false accounting, bribery to prostitution. By his own count, he has been subjected to more than 2,500 court hearings. But despite the best efforts of prosecutors and political opponents, the 73-year-old Berlusconi seems unlikely to ever see the inside of a jail cell or be forced to step down.
The Teflon prime minister has managed four times to pass laws granting himself immunity from prosecution, though each of which has been judged unconstitutional by the courts. For his part, Berlusconi has accused the Italian judicial system of having an ingrained left-wing bias.
The most recent legal scandal involving Berlusconi concerns his longtime friend, business partner, and political ally Marcello Dell’Utri, who has been convicted of serving as a liaison between the mafia and Italy’s political elite. In the course of the trial, a convicted Mafia hit-man testified that senior Mafia leaders had boasted of their ties to Berlusconi during the 1990s.
ISRAEL
The target: Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
The alleged crimes: Bribe-taking
The investigation: With internal probes into the 2008 offensive in Gaza and the controversial boarding of a pro-Palestinian flotilla earlier this year, Israel certainly doesn’t lack for high-profile investigations. But the country is riveted by the ongoing corruption investigation against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was plagued by corruption charges throughout his term. New York businessman Morris Talansky claims he gave Olmert more than $150,000 for his campaign for mayor of Jerusalem in 1997, but the money was spent on fine hotels, cigars, and watches.
Perhaps more shockingly, Olmert is accused of charging multiple nonprofit groups — including a charity for the disabled and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — for the same fundraising trips. Olmert announced his resignation in 2008 and wascharged with fraud a year later.
He has yet to be convicted, but investigations are ongoing. Most recently, Olmert was questioned over accusations that he accepted bribes in exchange for helping win contracts for a Jerusalem real estate developer. His administration didn’t come off looking that clean either: A finance minister was investigated for embezzlement, a justice minister resigned after being convicted for sexual harassment, and President Moshe Katsav resigned amid scandal after allegations of sexual assault.
Olmert is the first Israeli head of government to be indicted on corruption charges, though current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been the subject of investigations in the past. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also under investigation for a number of crimes, including bribery, fraud, and money-laundering.
TAIWAN
The target: Former President Chen Shui-bian
The alleged crimes: Corruption, embezzlement
The investigation: Chen was named as a suspect in a $450,000 embezzlement case within hours of stepping down as president of Taiwan in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment less than a year later — an ignominious end to the political career of the once renowned human-rights-lawyer-turned-politician.
Prosecutors had long been gunning for Chen, who enjoyed immunity from prosecution as president — his wife and son-in-law were arrested on charges of forgery and insider trading while he was still in office. Chen’s political opponents also maintained that Chen faked an assassination attempt in 2004 to win voter sympathy in his reelection bid.
Chen and his wife, who was also given a life sentence, continue to appeal their convictions. Their sentences were reducedfrom life imprisonment to 20 years in June when the court found that less money was involved in the corruption than previously thought. The former president remains in detention as his appeal continues.
But the current administration isn’t squeaky clean either: President Ma Ying-jeou, Chen’s political rival, was twice tried and acquitted on corruption charges before taking office.
* A deleted section of this article implied that President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea is being investigated in connection with allegations of illegal surveillance. While several senior South Korean officials are being investigated, including several in the prime minister’s office and one in the president’s office, Lee has not been named as a suspect. FP regrets the error.

Sleaze Factor – By Joshua E. Keating | Foreign Policy

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