Another New Party
Former Prime Minister under Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin, has announced he is forming his own political party and will enter the 2012 presidential race in an effort to provide an alternative to Nicolas Sarkozy. Called the PRS (Pour une république solidaire - for a republic of solidarity), it will be formally launched on June 19, one day after the anniversary of General de Gaulle's June 18, 1940 appeal.
Dominique de Villepin has been involved in a bitter struggle with Nicolas Sarkozy for a long time. Charged with complicity in allowing false accusations to proceed against his rival Sarkozy, he has recently been acquitted. Wikipedia has a brief summary:
In 2004, French judges were given a list by an anonymous source containing the names of politicians and others who, it was alleged, had deposited kickbacks from a 1991 arms sale to Taiwan into secret accounts at Clearstream, a private bank in Luxembourg. The most prominent name on the list was that of Nicolas Sarkozy, Villepin's rival for power in the UMP. The list was later shown to be fraudulent, a discovery Villepin kept from the public for 15 months at a time when the two men were vying for party supremacy. Meanwhile, the source of the list was later revealed to be a longtime associate of Villepin's, one Jean-Louis Gergorin, an executive at EADS. Critics claimed that Villepin, perhaps with the support of then-president Jacques Chirac, had tried to defame his rival. Sarkozy, in turn, filed a suit against whoever was behind the creation of the Clearstream list. An investigation continues.
Dominique de Villepin, then Foreign Minister, also made history when he delivered a speech at the United Nations on February 14, 2003, in which he explained France's refusal to enter the Iraq war as an ally of the United States. The speech was warmly applauded.
Anyone running for high office must have some firm views for or against the entry of Turkey in the EU. Joachim Véliocas, writing at Islamisation, has culled a few samples of Villepin's thinking on this topic of major importance:
- The commitment made by the Europeans cannot be re-examined. Turkey is a candidate country, that hopes to join the EU on the same basis as other countries. (...) Yes, Islam has its full place in Europe. Now, and even more so in the future, let us think about Turkey or even Bosnia, that was able, amidst the worst trials, to keep alive its double heritage, European and Muslim. (June 14, 2003)
- Europe made concrete commitments vis-à-vis Turkey decades ago, and these commitments must be honored. (March, 2008, speaking before students, university professors, diplomats, including the Ambassador of France to Ankara and the Consul General of France to Istanbul.)
Véliocas quotes the website Turquie Européenne that reported the following in 2004:
Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin believes that the refusal to accept Turkey into The European Union for "identitarian or religious" reasons would be "an error". (...) "The notion that Europe can say no because Turkey is Muslim would only serve to increase resentment," declared Monsieur de Villepin. (...)
Note: At the top of the web page cited above, there is a surprising quote from Albert Einstein: "Nationalism is a childhood disease. It is humanity's measles." I don't know what the original context was, but using the quote as a means of persuasion is a telling commentary on the EU's low regard for any country interested in preserving its sovereignty.
At the same website there is an English-language article chiding Sarkozy for his "stubborn" refusal to accept Turkey into the EU, and insisting that if French leaders visited Turkey, their prejudices would disappear. Sarkozy, as of now, is considering a visit to Turkey in November. (Is this the "trick" he will use to make it appear as if he has changed his mind?)
An article at Le Figaro announcing the candidacy of Villepin for the presidency elicited hundreds of comments. A quick glance over some of them indicates that no one is interested in this man as a candidate. Readers cite his lack of ideas and the fact that he has never run for elected office.
Finally, despite what he says about Islam having its full place in Europe, he declared in 2004, when he was Interior Minister:
- "We need a strong policy to combat radical Islam. It is used as a breeding-ground for terrorism. We cannot afford not to watch them very closely."