Nicolas Sarkozy “remains popular” but “times have changed”: the foreign media react to the condemnation of the former president

” My God ! ” The German tabloid Bild did not skimp on the formulation, In french in the text, to announce the conviction of Nicolas Sarkozy, Thursday, September 30, to one year in prison for exceeding the spending limit of his 2012 presidential campaign. In this case, the former president – who appealed – did not was not blamed for the system of false invoices at the heart of the fraud, but for having exceeded the legal threshold for election expenses by more than 20 million euros.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Bygmalion: behind the “all guilty” of the criminal court, a ruthless report on the excesses of the Sarkozy campaign of 2012

On Friday, the websites of many European and Anglo-Saxon media highlight, sometimes from their titles, such as the Washington post, that Nicolas Sarkozy will undoubtedly not stay in prison, since the sentence pronounced is adaptable in home detention under surveillance by electronic bracelet. To its readers, Bild explains that Mr. Sarkozy was convicted because ” a lot of money “ was spent on campaign shows “Extravagant”. A qualifier also used by the Guardian, which describes with emphasis and luxury of details the candidate’s meetings in 2012:

“Perceived as one of the best orators of the French right, he gave thunderous speeches from flashy stages, built on purpose, in huge rooms and in front of a large audience, supported by music composed for the occasion, while Renowned directors filmed these extravagances for television and broadcast the images on giant screens. “

That Nicolas Sarkozy is now subject to two custodial decisions – he was convicted in March for corruption and influence peddling in the so-called “eavesdropping” case, a judgment he also appealed against – is a “Extraordinary and unprecedented situation” according to the British newspaper, which notes that it does not prevent him from “Maintain a significant public presence, publishing a culture book this month, and being called regularly on television to comment on the presidential race ” spring 2022.

“New stain”

The American newspapers also note that these convictions do not lower the rating of the former head of state: in the eyes of Financial Times, he “Remains popular in the center-right electorate”. the New York Times shares this opinion, recalling that many right-wing contenders at the Elysee “Covet his support” despite his “Failed return” in 2016, when he was eliminated in the first round of the right-wing primary. The former president “Remains an influential figure in the French establishment and has cordial relations with Emmanuel Macron”, abounds the Wall Street Journal, who however sees in this second condemnation a “New spot” on “The legacy of a former head of state whose party is rooted in a policy of law and order”.

Across the Rhine, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) is also worried about the effects of this sentence on the Republicans party, “Which remains deeply divided on the way to manage the legacy of Sarkozy”, especially since his former Prime Minister François Fillon, recalls the title, was sentenced to prison at first instance (judgment which he appealed). The FAZ gives an appointment for December 4, when the members of the party, meeting in congress, will have to nominate their candidate for 2022.

Read the editorial of the “World”: Bygmalion: a turning point in the financing of political life

a editorial of the same newspaper welcomes in any case a “Signal for France” :

“This judgment (…) will have a dissuasive effect on subsequent political leaders (…). For the presidential election next year, we will see tough fights, they must be fought by the rules. “

And to add that he “It would be better if it was not the judges who put the politicians in their place, but the voters”.


The Süddeutsche Zeitung, for who “Sarkozy’s reputation as bling-bling president is no accident”, also thinks that his conviction marks “The end of an era when senior politicians felt largely unassailable”. And to quote the electoral campaign of 1995: the Constitutional Council had then validated the accounts of the presidential campaigns of Edouard Balladur and Jacques Chirac in full awareness of the irregularities which tainted them. For The Irish Times, in Dublin, the convictions of Mr. Sarkozy “Are more dishonor than real punishment (…). Thursday’s decision serves as a warning to candidates that times have changed ”.

The editorial of the Time adopts a darker tone, believing that “The Republic comes out overwhelmed by this legal standoff. Nicolas Sarkozy (…) keeps proclaiming that his honor has been sullied, and that justice is tracking him down, while the facts are there ”. For the Swiss title, the French voters who went to the polls in 2012 “Did so at the end of a biased campaign”.

Finally, south of the Pyrenees, it is pointed out that the former French president was in Madrid the day before his conviction, at the invitation of the People’s Party (right) meeting for its national convention. Not enough to embarrass the Spanish conservatives, according to El Pais, who argue that the former French president was invited before his March sentencing. The former president remains the “Star” of the gathering, estimates the daily: it is not “Plagued neither in France nor [ailleurs dans le] world “.

Read also The day before his conviction in the Bygmalion affair, Nicolas Sarkozy invited from the Spanish People’s Party and presented as an “example”

But the Spanish twittosphere is laughing. “Have a sense of timing, say the French”, reacted Enric Juliana, a columnist for La Vanguardia, in a message reported by Equinox Magazine, a French-language publication based in Barcelona. “Sarkozy, be strong”, also mocked the leader of the radical left in Catalonia, Jessica Albiach, referring to words said by Mariano Rajoy, the former conservative prime minister, to the treasurer of his party convicted of corruption. The formula, according to Equinox, has become cult in Spain.

The world

Leave a Comment