French politics

Henri Guaino and his weak allowances

Henri Guaino, Former Nicolas Sarkozy's special advisor, French MP (UMP party) since June 2012

Henri Guaino, Former Nicolas Sarkozy’s special advisor, French MP (UMP party) since June 2012

While summer goes on, we are almost at the mid-August and I enjoy still my holidays in the south of the Netherlands, Henri Guaino made a remarkable statement, some days ago.

Former Nicolas Sarkozy’s special advisor, now French UMP Member of Parliament, recently complained about his allowances as representative. Indeed, he considers he is not decently paid, denouncing his deplorable conditions of work and the nasty atmosphere surrounding the French MP currently. His statements quickly were noticed and harshly commented on the social networks, especially on Twitter where some followers criticized Guaino and suggested him to get the SMIC (the minimum wage in France) to see the difference.

In France, and to avoid any case of corruption and conflict of interests, a Member of Parliament gets 5,148€/month of allowance plus a 5,770€ monthly allowance for their expenses and some extras as travelling in train in first class, getting a personal premise and hiring some parliamentary assistants. In other words, Henri Guaino is able to play his role of MP and represent the inhabitants of his constituency that makes his statements unacceptable.

Indeed, at the moment Frenchs are still undergo the crisis, people do not understand Guaino’s point of view, all the more so as he has modest origins as he often claimed it in the past when he was the first and closest advisor of the ex-French president. Moreover, it is important to remind most of my compatriots are distrusting politics due to the Cahuzac affair and more and more consider their representatives do not do their duty and are less and less worthy of their mandate. To sum up, Guaino’s statements are outrageous and express a clear vision of politics in France today.

Protestors demanding an audit on the French MP's special expenses, in July 2012

Protestors demanding an audit on the French MP’s special expenses, in July 2012

In fact, stressing on the fact French MPs are not correctly paid, Guaino puts forward of a certain vision of politics seen as a job or a way to do a professional career. Nonetheless, it is needed to remind politics is not a job, it is a mandate you received from the citizens to represent them and take part to the decision of the community. Criticizing his monthly allowance, the ex-Sarkozy’s advisor reinforces this vision of politics more and more rejected by French people insofar as we are faced to people who considers politics as a job and not a commitment. They are professionals of politics, earn their life thanks to it and depend on it, forgetting any social and professional reality. Furthermore, they are still suspected to live as high privileged people by the large part of the population, which strengthens the lack of trust vis-à-vis the French parliamentarians and gives arguments to the extremist parties as the Marine Le Pen’s Front National who insists on the “establishment”.

Unless Henri Guaino regards his compatriots as his employer – which is clearly not the case – it is important to say being a representative is not a job even if it is also important to insist on the fact some other representatives do not share the ex-Sarkozy’s advisor’s mentality insofar as they have a professional activity and/or take the risk to stop working to take care their mandate. Nonetheless, the Guaino’s statements are still incomprehensible insofar as it is an honour to represent his fellow compatriots, an honour for which complaining is not decent! It’s one of a basis rules of politics, in France especially!

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