Keyword: coup d'état
A letter signed by 23 retired French generals, who warn that the military might have to “intervene” in a “civil war” because of a failure by the French state to crack down on “Islamists”, has caused a political row. Defence minister Florence Parly has warned of “consequences” for any active soldiers on the list of signatories, which includes scores of other senior ranks. Meanwhile Marine Le Pen, the president of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party, has given the retired generals her support. As Lucie Delaporte reports, her backing for such views is a stark reminder of what the RN really stands for, after a decade in which Le Pen has sought to soften the party's image.
While the authorities in Paris knew that the position of Mali's president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was weak, they were not expecting the military coup that led to his resignation on August 18th. France's recent unyielding stance in negotiations between Mali's government and opposition, and its unflagging support for prime minister Boubou Cissé, are meanwhile now being highlighted as potential causes of the current crisis. Some observers say that without France's 'blind' support for the Malian government the soldiers might not have staged the coup at all. Rémi Carayol reports.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation on state television late Tuesday, hours after he and prime minister Boubou Cissé were arrested by mutinous soldiers.
Last month, just before Mediapart broke the WikiLeaks revelations about US spying on France, a last-minute amendment was discreetly made to the French government’s highly-controversial snooping bill shortly before it was due to become law. The change would have given the country's secret services complete freedom to spy on any individual who was not “French or a person habitually residing in the country”. A French Parliamentary committee accepted the amendment, though the eventual outcry when details of it later emerged forced the government to remove the measure. However, argues Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel, in an article written before the WikiLeaks spying disclosures, the episode shows just how much the French government kowtows to the anti-democratic tendencies of a whole panoply of non-elected technocrats and officials - France's 'state within a state' or 'deep state'.
Barely two days after Mediapart revealed the content of the phone taps placed on Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president has responded with an extraordinary outburst in the right-wing Le Figaro newspaper. In an angry comment article Sarkozy likened the actions of judges and the police in placing the phone taps to those of the notorious Stasi secret police who operated in communist East Germany. The ex-head of state also mocks the interior minister and justice minister for saying they knew nothing of the bugging, and says the French Republic's “fundamental principles” have been “trampled underfoot”. The government has been swift to respond to allegations that are unprecedented for a former head of the French state, with one minister accusing Sarkozy of a “verbal coup d'état”.