Robert Harneis- TDO-Francois Fillon, the right-wing candidate for the French presidency has accused outgoing socialist president Francois Hollande of secretly and illegally sabotaging his election campaign. Basing his accusations on a new book ‘Bienvenue à Place Beaveau’ about the secret activities of the Ministry of the Interior and how allsorts of judicial and police information is fed to the President to enable him to influence events through the media and the justice system.
The President's office condemned in the "strongest terms the untruthful allegations". However, the most recent anti-Fillon leak, that he accepted €50,000 for introducing a businessman to Russian President Vladimir Putin, seems to have the last straw for the former Prime Minister. It surfaced exactly timed to disrupt Fillon’s appearance in the first debate between the five leading candidates.
The accusation is based on information in a book by journalists from the satirical magazine Canard Enchainé. That originally publicized the attacks against him in the first place. They cannot be accused of being Fillon sympathizers and seem to have given him a heaven-sent opportunity to get back at the people he (and many others) believe are responsible for a steady stream of damaging well-timedrevelations, often coming at critical moments in the campaign.
Fillon called for an investigation into the allegations pointing to the remarkable fact that the investigation against himself was launched only two hours after the original accusations appeared in the Canard Enchainé. He sarcastically suggested that a few days should be enough to launch one into a scandal involving the President. Fillon also wanted to know how documents taken from his office by judicial police appeared in newspapers only 48 hours later.
One of the authors was quick to point out that the book did not support Fillon’s accusations against the President. However, the text seems pretty clear, talking about a ‘clandestine structure’ and ‘Hollande knew how to use it’. The book described the police system as ‘opaque’ and observed that ‘Hollande and his ministers had attempted to use for political ends’ including specifically against his own Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The author seems to have been embarrassed at his book’s unexpected success and publicity.
Meanwhile, the latest poll shows 43 percent of respondents are still uncertain who to vote for. The first round of voting is on 23 April