Here’s the latest on France’s latest political soap opera of corruption, backstabbing, and dastarly deeds:
First, a little background: As readers of this blog will know, PM de Villepin is suspected of involvement in a shadowy scheme to discredit his bitter rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Namely, Sarko’s name turned up in a list of names at Clearstream, a Luxembourg-based clearinghouse of Deutsche Boerse AG, where the persons listed supposedly were laundering money received as kickbaks from the sale of frigates to Taiwan in the early 90s. The list was determined to be fake. Presently, judges are investigating who sent the fake list, among other things, and Sarko, the other politicians named, and Clearstream are suing (see sidebar for previous posts).
Last night (link in French) Sarkozy was a guest in France2’s evening broadcast. He stated he trusts the justice system and will not resign, even when David Pujadas, the interviewer, pressed the issue by saying that not resigning made it look like he was going along with Chirac/de Villepin.
Sarkozy explained that as an elected official it is his duty to continue: “We must perform the jobs we were elected to do”, and, while he wants to know who put his name in the fake list, he’s waiting for the result of the judges’ investigation.
Sarkozy also stressed that in his post as Minister of the Interior he’s in charge of the nation’s security. As such, he has legislation coming up in the Assembly, specifically, bills on selective immigration, sex offenders, crime prevention, and underage repeat offenders. He also stated that he heads the largest party. Therefore, it is his duty to stay in office to govern, not to follow the latest scandal.
Sarko’s interview can be viewed on line (in French) until 2PM EDT.
In other Clearstream news, as I predicted two days ago, the vote of no confidence against de Villepin didn’t pass yesterday. Additionally, “[Chirac] wants his final year to go as smoothly as possible, which requires an intelligent agreement with Sarkozy.”
And a new development in the investigation shows that one or more women’s DNA (link in French) was found in the stamps of the envelope containing the anonymous letter that “le corbeau” (the anonymous sender of the letter) sent to judges Henry Pons and Jean-Marie D’Huy.
For previous posts on Clearstream, please check the sidebar.
Because of his proposed selective immigration bill, Mali has disinvited Sarko, and as usual, thousands are marching in Paris against the bill.
And now for something completely different: ¡No Pasarán! interviews Bertrand Latour, a young French guy with good looks and brains. He’s not optimistic on France.
Update: Special thanks to Roger for his kind advice.
(technorati tags Clearstream, France, Politics, Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin, Nicolas Sarkozy, UMP)