Why Francois Fillon refuses to withdraw from the race

Why Francois Fillon refuses to withdraw from the race

Fillon gave evidence

Wednesday, March 15, the candidate in presidents of France from the center-right party “the Republicans” Francois Fillon once again confirmed his intention to run for President, despite the prospect of prosecution for financial fraud. “Justice is manipulated to throw me out of the race. Actually I’m innocent,” said Fillon on Wednesday morning, the radio station Radio Classique.

On Tuesday, Fillon gave testimony to the judicial Board. The hearing was scheduled for March 15, however, Fillon’s lawyer Antonin levy explained that at the request of the candidate, the hearing has been moved a day earlier to calm client. The transfer date has allowed Fillon to avoid scrutiny by journalists, he would be able to answer in court, said levy.

Following the hearing, against the candidate from “Republican” was opened an official investigation on the fact of theft and misappropriation of funds.

That the meeting of the judicial Board and the subsequent initiation of an investigation took place a day earlier, one of the first reported in my Twitter weekly Le Canard enchaine. In late January, this newspaper published a series of investigations that have interested office of public Prosecutor of France and put the Fillon on the brink of criminal prosecution.

25 January 2017 Le Canard enchaine published an article alleging that the wife of the presidential candidate from “Republican” Penelope Fillon at the post of the assistant to member of Parliament earned almost €900 thousand According to the newspaper, from 1992 to 2002, she received money from funds intended for payment of service of parliamentarians.

The publication claimed that the post wife of françois Fillon was fraudulent, his duties she performed, and salary received up to 2007. Witnesses stated that he had never seen Penelope or in the hallways or in the offices of the French Parliament. Employment verification wife visit the Prosecutor’s office beginning the day the first article on January 25. This was followed by searches and interrogations, and on February 25, was opened a formal investigation against “unknown persons” on charges of embezzlement and embezzlement of public funds.

Penelope Fillon

Photo: Francois Mori / AP

The suspension of the process

Following the hearing, the advocate Fillon told the details about the procedure of questioning of a presidential candidate. “The law offers three options: either you are silent and do not answer or you answer questions from the judges, or you make the statement recorded in the court Protocol, the lawyer explained levy. — Fillon chose the latter option for two reasons: first, he already explained everything to the police, and secondly, because of the two conflicting schedules of the candidate, electoral and judicial — only this option was possible to execute in minimum time”.

According to the newspaper Liberation, the candidate from “Republican” in his statement insists that the court cannot investigate the work of the Deputy and his manner of working with their colleagues, without violating the principle of separation of powers. Once Fillon signed the Protocol, he left the court and continued the campaign.

Over 60 years of existence of the Fifth Republic is the first case when the candidate receives a subpoena during the race. In any case, Fillon enjoys the right to presumption of innocence, and it cannot condemn before the vote for several reasons, explains in the pages of the Huffington Post a lawyer Dominic Inchope. First, the process can take months or years, while the General election is little more than a month. Second, lawyers Fillon will be able to extend the terms of the case: for example, challenging the interpretation of the rules on limitation of actions or facts that will be considered in the investigation.

Finally, in case of victory of Fillon in the presidential election case may be delayed by five or even ten years — depending on the successful re-election in 2022. According to the French Constitution (article 67 section IX), the head of state during their entire term of office “may not be called to testify in any French judicial authority or judicial body”. Against the President cannot be sued, he cannot become the object of the action for the collection of information, investigation or prosecution. However, in case of loss of Fillon court case against him will continue.

Photo: Christophe Ena / AP

Wobbly base

The scandal surrounding the visit lasts for more than six months and seriously disrupted his plans in the election campaign. Since late January, his popularity among French voters has declined by 5 percentage points — from about 25% to about 20%. Behind the ex-economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, with the current balance Fillon will not go through to the second round of the presidential election.

According to all opinion polls, the French President will be the opponent of the leader of “National front” marine Le Pen in the second round, the leader of the far-right is now in the first place, but in the second round, voters likely will choose her opponent.

Thus, for the final victory of the policy before the first round is enough to go at least second to be in the next round (held may 7). Two recent publications of the survey show that the most likely contender for victory is the macron. The Ifop poll from March 14, and the data Opinionway from March 15 to give Him 25% votes, but Fillon — 19%. The popularity of Le Pen Ifop estimates at the level of 26.5% and Opinionway — 27%.

Macron consistently takes second place in the pre-election forecasts from January 30. In addition, in early March, pollsters Harris, Odoxa and Opinionway recorded the jump in popularity of the ex-Minister even above Le Pen. It was shortly after the presentation of the election program of the Macron.

However, the outcome of the elections is premature to assume a foregone conclusion. For example, macron, being the clear favorite, has the stable electoral base. According to the latest Ifop, of those respondents who expressed willingness to vote for the Macron, confident in their choice only 52%. Among the five leading candidates is the lowest result. For example, 72% of the potential electorate Fillon sure that in the first round will vote for him. In the case of Le Pen, the figure is 81%.

On the other hand, the macron for the first time in the race was involved in a criminal scandal. This week, French prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation on suspicion of nepotism in the allocation of contracts. At the annual international CES in Las Vegas in January 2016 organization of the French exposition were engaged in mass media company Havas. According to Le Canard enchaine, responsible for promoting French business Agency, Business France has chosen Havas without any competition. Business France is an integral part of the Ministry of economy, which was then headed by macron. The politician himself was a key speaker at the event organized by Havas within the exhibition.

In response to the interest of the prosecution Agency, Business France has stated that the choice fell on Havas because of lack of time and resources for the organization of the event and because of the substantial experience of such events from the media companies. “In any case, the Minister and his staff participate in the competitive process of Business France does not accept” — says the Agency. According to The Washington Post, the presidential campaign of Makron the prosecutors ‘ actions are not threatening: the investigation of ex-Ministers in the period of their continuance in office engaged in a special Trial chamber of the Republic.

Candidates for the French presidency
Marine Le Pen — the leader of “National front”. The daughter of the founder of the party Jean-Marie Le pen, who in 2002 lost to Jacques Chirac in the second round of the presidential election. In the presidential election of 2012 took the third place with 18% of votes. In foreign policy, advocates the withdrawal of France from the EU and NATO and improving relations with Moscow. In the internal offers to fight illegal migration, to impose a tax on imports and support of French manufacturers protectionist measures.

Francois Fillon — the candidate from “Republican”. Was head of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Sarkozy presidency (2007-2012). Performs with conservative positions: a review of relations with the EU without leaving the Union, the restriction on the admission of migrants, reduction of taxes and reduction of state intervention in the economy. Has friendly relations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, supports the revision of the policy of sanctions against Moscow.

Emmanuel macron — the candidate from the party “Forward!”. Former in 2014-2016 economy Minister macron last spring, resigned from the government, organizing their own party, and in August announced his intention to run for President. His program as a self-proclaimed centrist combines left-wing (social reforms, the increase in salaries and benefits) and the right-wing ideas (reducing the role of government in the economy, encouragement of private initiative, free market). Supports further integration with the EU, but supports the development of relations with Russia.

Benoit Amon — the candidate of the Socialist party. Now a member of the French Parliament, in 2014, he worked briefly with the Minister of education. The representative of the left wing party, advocates the introduction of an unconditional basic income, the legalization of soft drugs and euthanasia. Is a staunch supporter of green energy. Supports European integration and Russian foreign policy calls “aggressive imperialism.”