Coup de theatre regarding the Cahuzac affair! French former minister for Budget finally admitted he had an offshore account in Switzerland during a judicial hearing. Judge Van Ruymbeke, inquiring on the case, immediately put him under investigation procedure for money laundering.
On his blog, Cahuzac asked François Hollande for forgiveness while he denied during several weeks the existence of this bank account abroad, even face to members of the national parliament. Just after his confessions, the French president considered Cahuzac’s attitude as unforgivable fault.
Although relatively surprising, due to some probing elements brought by the French Mediapart investigation medium, Cahuzac’s confessions are a real blow for François Hollande and his principle of “république exemplaire” he put forward during the previous presidential campaign. Face to Nicolas Sarkozy, the socialist candidate explained and defended a more moralistic vision of politics, considering representatives had to be an exemplary and unquestionable attitude. The ex-minister’s unexpected confessions will have a major aftermath in the French president’s policy and strategy regarding exemplarity in politics, even no reproach can be made to Hollande and his government insofar as they considered they have been deceived by Cahuzac.
I feel bitterness vis-à-vis the ex-minister and his confessions all the more so as I defended him on the behalf of presumption of innocence and in spite of elements brought by Mediapart. Jérôme Cahuzac seemed to be honest, sincere and determined to prove his integrity. After he confessed, a large majority of socialist activists, representatives and executives are disappointed or have the impression to have been betrayed by a man who was to tackle tax evasion and invite French people to make important efforts to recover the country’s public accounts both, especially in a complicated and difficult political and economical context. For instance, Gérard Filoche, left wing Socialist party representative strongly and deeply condemned Jérôme Cahuzac’s behaviour explaining with sincerity and emotively he couldn’t tolerate this within his own party.
There will be a before and an after for sure, although it is needed to highlight Cahuzac, admitting the facts, made amends. As “Gabale”, a French political blogger explained well, Cahuzac could have waited for a long time, and continued to lie, betting on a long and complex procedure. But, he chose to be honest with himself and meet the judges. Some people will consider it is quite late but the new attitude of the ex-minister should be taken into account in our judgement.
Finally, some people or parties are going to enjoy the political consequences of Cahuzac’s confessions in a context dominated by a deeper and deeper distrust of French citizens vis-à-vis their representatives. Of course, Front de gauche movement or the Front national extremist party will try to denounce the “UMPS system”, a political system dominated by the two main important French political parties and undermined by corruption. But, Cahuzac’s confessions might also enjoy to François Hollande insofar he did not lose time to react, and he already got the resignation of his minister two week ago. Moreover, he did not look for interfering in inquiries led by justice and press contrary to some of his predecessors. But, it seems obvious Cahuzac affair will have an important impact for French politics, which it is not joyful.