Friday, October 30, 2009

Chirac to Stand Trial

I must admit I was stunned. Sure, Villepin has been tried, and Pasqua has been convicted. Juppé has purged his punishment. But I thought that presidents were different, that the symbolic status of the presidency, the function of incarnating the Republic, would somehow bestow immunity even where serious evidence existed. The parquet was evidently under the same impression: it recommended dismissal. But the judge--a woman, Xavière Simeoni--was not impressed. Jacques Chirac will stand trial for actions allegedly committed while he was mayor of Paris.

To be sure, the Fifth Republic presidency has been steadily descending from its quasi-otherworldly status from the beginning. But this is a new step, and I think a healthy one, whatever the outcome of the trial. The monarchical aura is gone. Only the autocratic instincts remain.

7 comments:

Unknown said...

Stunning indeed. In the worst case scenario - for J.C. -, it will be interesting whether his successor decides to implement an individual amnesty (art. 10 6° de la loi n° 2002-1062 du 6 août 2002 portant amnistie), as he himself did in favor of a former olympic champion. In other words, which would win, personal hatreds or political interest. We will have to see, and we are not there yet as J.C. has not stood trial yet.

meshplate said...

"The monarchical aura is gone. Only the autocratic instincts remain." Nice touch! We're living in the époque of the lilliputian...:-)

RoG said...

Hold your horses. It's far from certain that this will ever reach a trial. The State Prosecutor, a political appointee, has the right to appeal the decision, and it will then go to another court for decision.

Chirac is very popular and there's little public enthusiasm for prosecuting him. The French either unconcerned about or resigned to public corruption. If pressed on the subject, they'll claim that it's exactly the same in other countries.

Unknown said...

Yes, good point, erg0, and I see that Ségolène Royal has already said that Chirac should be left in peace, guilty or not. I suspect many people share this view.

meshplate said...

Popular or not, it's a good sign that the judiciary is asserting its independence. Obviously, corruption in other countries is also wrong and is cause of tremendous frustration wherever it happens.

DavidinParis said...

The choice of initials, JC, is perhaps apt? In anycase, this will move forward at the glacial pace all things move forward here...likely to be convicted (if ever) when he is so old that his sentence will be commuted. I wonder if the major target of this move is Sarkozy and not JC?

Cincinna said...

I,too, am surprised at this. Chirac is extremely popular; more so since his term ended.

I believe that if the charges are just corruption, the usual "pots du vin", so common in French local government, this will not go very far.

However, if the investigation focuses on pocket lining in the UN oil-for-food scam, our friend Jacques Iraq, might just have to face the music.

Known as Jacques Iraq for his close personal friendship with Saddam Hussein, and other Arab dictators, the risk lies there.
http://fuckfrance.com/images/i074/18533.074chirac_saud.jpg/