Analysis

  • Verdict on ex-minister Jérôme Cahuzac shows French aversion to jail for tax fraud

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    Escaping jail time? Jérôme Cahuzac at the Court of Appeal in Paris on February 12th, 2018. © Reuters Escaping jail time? Jérôme Cahuzac at the Court of Appeal in Paris on February 12th, 2018. © Reuters

    After an appeal, former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac has received a reduced sentence for tax fraud, making it now highly unlikely he will serve any time in prison. It was an unexpected and happy outcome for the former minister whose tax dodge was first exposed by Mediapart in 2012. But, as Fabrice Arfi argues, it sends out an unfortunate message in a country which is already reluctant to imprison white collar criminals – especially those in public life.

  • Paris knife attacks confirm the new threat from IS

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    Police stand guard on the rue Monsigny after the attack on Saturday evening. © Reuters TV Police stand guard on the rue Monsigny after the attack on Saturday evening. © Reuters TV

    One person was killed and four others wounded after a French national of Chechen origin went on a knifing rampage in central Paris on Saturday evening, in a terrorist attack claimed by the Islamic State group (IS). Khamzat Azimov, born in Chechnya in 1997, was shot dead by police minutes after he began stabbing passers-by on a street near to the Garnier Opera house. Mediapart terrorism specialist Matthieu Suc analyses here the reasons behind the changing strategy of IS-sponsored attacks in Europe, and in France in particular where they have claimed the lives of 246 people since 2014.

  • Macron arrives to mark the bloody events etched in New Caledonian memories

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    President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Ouvéa in New Caledonia. © Julien Sartre President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Ouvéa in New Caledonia. © Julien Sartre

    President Emmanuel Macron is visiting New Caledonia as the Pacific archipelago prepares for a crucial vote in the autumn on whether to embrace full independence from its old colonial power. The French head of state will be there on the 4th and 5th of May, two grim dates in the calendar of recent New Caledonian history. On May 5th 1988, 19 hostage takers and two soldiers died after the military intervened to rescue gendarmes kidnapped by a separatist group on the island of Ouvéa. A year later, on May 4th, 1989, two nationalist leaders were killed on the same island by another separatist who felt they had betrayed the cause. Joseph Confavreux reports on a bloody past that still hangs over the region's politics and on the attempts at reconciliation and forgiveness.

  • Macron leaves home woes behind on trip to charm US

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    Emmanuel Macron interviewed by Fox News. © Fox News Emmanuel Macron interviewed by Fox News. © Fox News

    French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the United States on Monday for a three-day state visit, the first of its kind by a foreign head-of-state since the election of Donald Trump as president. Mediapart’s US correspondent Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses American perceptions of the French president as a bulwark against the advance of populist politics and an antidote to Trump, who one US media commentator even ventured to describe as “a beacon for progressives hoping to find their way back to the halls of power across the democratic world”.  

  • The Macron Method exposed as social protests continue

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    The Macron Method: union leaders says the government talks a lot but says nothing. © Reuters The Macron Method: union leaders says the government talks a lot but says nothing. © Reuters

    On Monday April 9th France's National Assembly is due to begin examining the government's proposed legislation for a “new railway agreement”. Yet the consultations with the unions about this new pact are still going on. Those unions - whose members began the latest round of two-day rail strikes on Sunday April 8th - are now dismissing the talks with the government as a “farce” and intend to step up their action. Their aim is to expose what they see as a deliberate method employed by President Emmanuel Macron's government: one of talking but not saying anything and of listening without hearing. Ellen Salvi examines the workings of the Macron Method.

  • Why Nicolas Sarkozy faces trial over claims he sought inside information from judge

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    Barely a week after Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation over Libyan funding of his 2007 presidential campaign, the former president has been hit by a new legal blow. Judges have ruled he must stand trial on corruption and influence peddling charges over claims that he tried to get a senior judge to leak him crucial information about the progress of a case involving him. In return the ex-head of state is said to have promised to help get the judge a plum post in Monaco. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains the background.

  • How Sarkozy's dealings with Gaddafi went unchecked

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    Nicolas Sarkozy with then-president François Hollande at a ceremony marking V-E Day on May 8th 2013. © Reuters Nicolas Sarkozy with then-president François Hollande at a ceremony marking V-E Day on May 8th 2013. © Reuters

    The placing under investigation of Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday for corruption, embezzling public funds and illegal electoral funding by the regime of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has come about as the judicial investigation is in its fifth year, and seven years after Mediapart first revealed the former conservative president’s dealings with Tripoli. During the entire period, which includes five years of socialist government, the political powers have regularly turned their backs on the disturbing questions raised by the mounting evidence of Sarkozy’s dubious relations with the dictator, and also the circumstances of France’s subsequent military intervention in Libya, to the point of dismissing repeated calls for a parliamentary inquiry. Antton Rouget reports.

  • Macron plays public opinion card against his critics

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    President Emmanuel Macron and a chicken at the Paris farm show, the Salon de l’Agriculture, February 24th, 2018. © Reuters President Emmanuel Macron and a chicken at the Paris farm show, the Salon de l’Agriculture, February 24th, 2018. © Reuters

    Emmanuel Macron has always insisted he is not worried about opinion polls and that, as head of state, he is willing to court unpopularity to do what he considers right for France. That has not stopped him basing his political strategy around what the public says, sometimes playing off the polls against critics of his reforms – even if that risks dividing the French people. Ellen Salvi looks at the French president's approach to public opinion.

  • President Macron sets political trap for France's railway workers

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    A government-commissioned report on France's railway sector has put reform of the employment status and supposedly “exorbitant privileges” of the country's railway workers firmly at the centre of the political agenda. These changes would themselves save around 100 million to 150 million euros in savings over ten years – a modest amount compared with the massive debts of the train operator SNCF. But as Martine Orange reports, the French presidency's real aim is to win a political battle by getting pubic opinion on its side.

  • Town v country: rural French schools feel sacrificed in favour of urban areas

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    A classroom in a primary school in Marseille. © Reuters A classroom in a primary school in Marseille. © Reuters

    The education authorities have just made their annual announcement about which primary school classes are being closed and which are being opened in the next academic year. Teaching unions and elected representatives in rural areas fear village schools are getting fewer teaching posts so that the government can implement its flagship policy of halving class sizes in education priority zones - which are overwhelmingly in deprived urban areas. Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer rejects the claims. Mediapart's education correspondent Faïza Zerouala reports.