Entertainment Imprisonment for Sarkozy: A verdict divides France

18:37  02 march  2021
18:37  02 march  2021 Source:   sueddeutsche.de

Corruption case: France's ex-President Sarkozy sentenced to prison term

 Corruption case: France's ex-President Sarkozy sentenced to prison term France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to three years in prison for bribery and illicit influence. Of these, two years will be suspended, as the French news agency AFP reported on Monday from the Paris Palace of Justice. The 66-year-old will probably not have to go to jail because the sentence can be served at home under electronic surveillance. © dpa Nicolas Sarkozy ruled the Elysée Palace from 2007 to 2012.

The left celebrates the conviction as a sign of democracy, the right sees an inadmissible partisanship of the justice system. The reactions show: Nicolas Sarkozy will continue to play a major role in politics.

Drei Jahre Haft, davon zwei auf Bewährung - ein solches Urteil gegen einen Ex-Präsidenten hat es in Frankreich noch nie gegeben. © imago stock & people / imago images / ZUMA Wire Three years imprisonment, two of which are on probation - there has never been a sentence like this against an ex-president in France. A verdict divides France

France's politicians are shaken the morning after the Sarkozy verdict. Three years imprisonment, including two on probation, for corruption. There has never been such a verdict against a former President of the Republic. Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac was also sentenced to imprisonment in 2011. But firstly, she was suspended completely, and secondly, Chirac was 79 years old at the time of the verdict.

Historic conviction against Sarkozy: political reactions

 Historic conviction against Sarkozy: political reactions Several personalities reacted Monday to the conviction of Nicolas Sarkozy to a prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling. © GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS A former President of the Republic has never been sentenced to prison. Yet this is the verdict that the Paris Criminal Court has just delivered, at the end of the trial of the “Bismuth affair”, also known as the “wiretapping affair”.

The 66-year-old Sarkozy, on the other hand, was far from retreating from power. In 2007 he was elected president. In 2012 he returned (and lost). If it had been up to him, he would have run again in 2017, and for the 2022 election he was treated as a kind of wild card by his party. In short: Nicolas Sarkozy was not a political retiree, he was one of the most active in the most important circles in Paris.

"France now belongs to the democracies"

Accordingly, there is no one who sees no political dimension in the condemnation of Sarkozy. The country is divided into two camps. On the one hand there are those who see the conviction in the awakening of a defensive judiciary. "France now belongs to the democracies in which the powerful are just as subject to justice as the other citizens," writes the left-wing Liberation . And reminds us how many missteps you can allow yourself as a French politician without having to resign or without fear of judgment.

Nicolas Sarkozy, both knees on the ground?

 Nicolas Sarkozy, both knees on the ground? © Copyright 2021, L'Obs We imagine them, with smiles on their faces, the contemptors, the political rivals, the white knights of political life, all those who dreamed of seeing the former president thrown into the dungeons of the 'History.

In the same newspaper, the historian Christian Delporte declares that it is not the judges that have changed, but the country. "The population today wants a lot more transparency than before," says Delporte. The legislation has become stricter towards politicians because the citizens demanded it.

Indeed, at the beginning of his term in office in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron launched a "reform to moralize political life". A new law restricts the parties' funding options and is intended to prevent the accumulation of offices.

"Completely inadequate"

Only a large part of French politics does not see Sarkozy's conviction as evidence of more transparency, but rather an impermissible partisanship of the judiciary. This is the second camp: it includes those who accuse the court of taking revenge on a political opponent. On the one hand, Sarkozy's party friends are attached to this camp. In the hours after the verdict, they outbid each other in expressions of solidarity. The verdict was "completely inappropriate," said Republican party leader Christian Jacob.

Business of "tapping": and now, what will happen to Nicolas Sarkozy?

 Business of © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP Sentenced to three years in prison, two of which were suspended, for corruption and influence peddling in the so-called "tapping" affair, Nicolas Sarkozy appealed against this decision. Still implicated in other cases, the former head of state sees his political horizon darken, one year before the next presidential election.

Every other conservative politician with weight or at least ambition agreed with this assessment. This also showed that Sarkozy will continue to determine the future of the Republicans. Convicted or not, his party cannot ignore him.

But there was also great sympathy for Sarkozy in the opposing political camps. The interior minister, Sarkozy's confidante Gérald Darmanin, who had defected to Macron, emphasized that the ex-president had "of course my full support, as a friend". Also much further to the left and much further to the right, the judgment aroused more consternation than relief.

investigation also against Le Pen

Marine Le Pen, head of the right-wing extremist Rassemblement National, said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning: "I don't want the judges to decide who my political opponents are." The judiciary is also investigating Le Pen, accused of having enriched her party through bogus employment. In the Sarkozy case as well as in her own judicial affair, Le Pen accuses the investigators of political motivations.

Shortly after the verdict, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, head of the left France Insoumise, also gave his opinion. "Sarkozy sentenced Macron's a serious rival going on," tweeted Mélenchon. The lawyer Sarkozy is meanwhile combative. Jacqueline Laffont has not only announced that she will appeal. She also said Sarkozy was "more innocent than ever".

VIDEO - Ségolène Royal criticizes PPDA for a "little mishmash" during the debate with Nicolas Sarkozy .
© Capture LCP VIDEO - Ségolène Royal criticizes PPDA for a "little mishmash" during the debate with Nicolas Sarkozy Ségolène Royal has never forgot his debate with Nicolas Sarkozy on May 2, 2007. In the documentary Face to face for the Elysee broadcast this Wednesday March 10 on LCP, the former minister returned to this exchange, revealing to have been surprised by a question from Patrick Poivre d 'Arvor.

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