Friday

19th Aug 2022

French politics rocked by claims of anti-Sarkozy plot

  • Fillon (l) denies interfering in a judicial probe into Sarkozy (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

A former French PM is alleged to have instructed president Francois Hollande's chief of staff to speed up investigations into Nicolas Sarkozy in a bid to thwart Sarkozy’s leadership ambitions.

Francois Fillon, a senior member of the centre-right UMP and possible contender for the next presidential elections, is at the centre of the conflict along with Hollande’s top aide, Jean-Pierre Jouyet.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Two Le Monde reporters cite Jean-Pierre Jouyet as saying Fillon wanted the judicial probes into alleged misuse of UMP party funds in Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential election campaign speeded up.

Fillon’s instructions allegedly took place over a lunch with Jouyet in June.

When challenged, Jouyet denied having made the claims about Fillon, but he later recanted on Sunday (9 November) when the reporters said they had recordings of his comments.

"If you don't hit him [Sarkozy] quickly, you'll let him come back, so act," Fillon is alleged to have said, according to Jouyet.

Fillon, for his part, is suing the two journalists and Le Monde for libel. He is also threatening Jouyet with defamation and has called him a liar.

“If Monsieur Jouyet says that, it’s a lie,” he said on French television.

The revelations have sparked a nation-wide scandal, with Fillon set to face off his party rival Sarkozy in the 2017 presidential elections.

Despite the allegations, Sarkozy’s spokesperson on Monday rallied behind Fillon’s version of events and told French radio that Jouyet should step down.

"There's no reason not to believe Fillon," he said.

The spokesperson said Jouyet had given state secrets to journalists and described him as “careless”.

Meanwhile, the fallout between the two party rivals could be a gain for the Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party.

Her popularity has soared in recent months as Socialist president Hollande struggles to kick-start an ailing economy and create jobs.

The UMP in-fighting has also played into her hands, say political analysts.

French far right at 'gates of power'

French PM Valls has warned the far right is “at the gates of power”, as the ruling left struggles under its unpopular president, Hollande.

Slovakia's government stares into the abyss

When a pro-western coalition swept to power in Slovak elections in 2020, many saw it as the start of a new era. Yet fast forward two-and-a-half years, and the four-party coalition is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Italy back in chaos, as Draghi quits over 5-Star snub

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil on Thursday as prime minister Mario Draghi announced his resignation after a key ally within his grand coalition government boycotted a parliamentary vote.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  2. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says
  3. German chancellor to face MPs over tax-fraud probe
  4. Norway wealth fund makes record €171bn loss
  5. German utility firm Uniper on 'brink of insolvency'
  6. ECB mulls big interest rate hike amid recession risk
  7. Germany unlikely to hit November gas-storage target
  8. Mali accuses France of arming Islamist fighters

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  2. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  3. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  4. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas
  5. Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say
  6. A year of Taliban — only aid is keeping Afghan kids alive
  7. Is this strange summer a moment of change?
  8. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us