July 30

A pardon for an ex-president?

Further to the controversial grant of a pardon by President Bush to “Scooter” Libby, it is rumoured there is some arrangement or understanding in the French Republic for a pardon which Jacques Chirac negotiated concerning claims against him from which he was immune while President. These were about allegations of corruption when he was Mayor of Paris. If a pardon is forthcoming, it is not clear whether it extends to the “Clearstream” scandal about illicit kickbacks from the 1991 sale of French warships to Taiwan.  According to Henry Samuels reporting in the London Daily Telegraph  of 6 July, 2007, new documents suggest Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, was the victim of a smear campaign by his predecessor Jacques Chirac (pictured) and former prime minister Dominique de Villepin. This involved adding M. Sarkozy’s name to the list of those involved in the foreign bank accounts. The police have apparently raided the former Prime Minister’s home. M.Chirac initially refused to answer questions claiming his presidential immunity protects him. It is suggested that the purpose of including Mr Sarkosy’s name was to block his campaign to be President, in favour of either Mr Chirac recontesting or M. de Villepin ‘s candidature for the presidency.

On 27 July, 2007, M.de Villepin, was formally accused of conspiring in a smear campaign against President Nicolas Sarkozy. As Adam Sage explained the next day in Times Online, M. De Villepin was “placed under investigation,” the equivalent of being charged as a suspect under UK or similar legal systems. – for “complicity to make false accusations” against President Sarkozy when he was Interior Minister. 

 Such a scenario is inconceivable here, at least while we are not a republic. Our Head of State is above politics.



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