Wednesday, 3 April 2013

follow the money

Cahuzac with Swiss emblem and Hollande with first aid box (pic: Le Monde)
Jerome Cahuzac is a former Socialist deputy in the French National Assembly, a former Budget Minister, and mayor of somewhere or other, as they mostly are in France. He spent months denying that he had any secret bank accounts in which money destined for the administration of public services had been squirrelled away. Then the MediaPart website managed to obtain the information (sought by prosecutors since Cahuzac was sacked as budget minister in March) that in fact he did have a bank account in Switzerland, and that it contained some 600,000 euros. It seems that this money may have come from sources identified as public funds, the administration of which was in part Cahuzac's responsibility. Cahuzac fessed up yesterday (just after texting President Hollande to tell him that he was going to) once he knew the jig was up. You can find Cahuzac's statement on his blog here.  He's now been expelled from the party, and told that he is "expected" to resign from elected office. President Hollande is going to make a televised statement this afternoon.

It's all a very bad business. Governments have fallen because of such things. I do not expect this government to fall over this, but it's hardly been helpful. Hollande has had some very poor polling lately, before this latest business, and is going to have to find a way to pull back. The intervention in Mali did him some good (and I congratulate him for it) but not enough it seems.

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