Historian Gilles Richard believes that the Republicans can still some time to maintain the appearance of unity, however, in case of defeat in the first round of elections the ruling party may face a split.
Le Monde: What do you think about call of Fillon in court and save his candidacy in the presidential election?
Richard Gilles (Gilles Richard): After some hesitation, he three weeks ago took the advice of his entourage, the position of the person who is going to challenge the storm. And he continues to follow this course. However its legitimacy has been fatally undermined. He won primaries largely due to the accentuated honesty and (in contrast to the main competitors) distances himself from all scandals in recent years. But now the shock had overtaken him. And suspicions do not concern trading in influence and illegal financing of his party, and personal enrichment. Such citizens are willing to accept less.
Whether “the Panama document” or Elf, in France there have been many scandals. How politicians react to them?
— The financial and political scandals occurred not 30 years ago. Their has been countless when the III and IV republics under de Gaulle and Pompidou. Neither, of course, in all modes to the Republic.
As French politicians react to the accusations? Usually they play on the differences in the rhythm of policy and justice are all given the right opportunities to avoid conviction. They have long been located in ideal position with many connections and good knowledge of the legal system.
— Why right now, more than 20 years cannot get rid of the scandals (Balladur, Chirac, Sarkozy, juppé, Fillon, etc.)?
— Most of these people, nothing happened, including Alain Juppe (Alain Juppé), who escaped with a very minor punishment.
Justice in France is much less features compared to other similar European countries. If you are among the mighty of this world, you have a huge variety of ways to slow down business, including using the services of large law firms.
Anyway, Francois Fillon, of course, was an exception to this list. The reason is that I do not too clear, but there is clearly played the role of personal psychological factors, as well as the failures and contradictions of the election headquarters.
— You as the expert on right-wing and business circles of this scandal seems to be a symbol of the structural problems of the right camp?
— For me personally one of the right forces does not exist. Several of them. It is very important to understand if we want to understand the political history of France in the long term and, perhaps, in the beginning of the XXI century.
Right among the oldest and most influential is the (neo)liberal right. Since the nineteenth century, they are closely linked with the business community. This is not surprising, because liberals believe the principles of capitalism as the best basis of public life. This, no doubt, is due to a greater number of scandals than in the other political currents.
Anyway, they are all not limited. On the national front also came a number of scandals since the 1970-ies with the participation of the party and the family of Le Pen, which, in fact, is its owner. Do not stay aside and the socialist party, especially in the regions, and the Communist party in its heyday.
— Can the parliamentary right to actually fall apart?
— Yes, I think the Republicans can really fall apart. In the party there is a very strong split with in 2012 after the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy. Etched in my memory and confusion surrounding the election of its President in November 2012, when Jean-Francois cope (Jean-François Copé) and Francois Fillon declared themselves winners.
This split is a direct consequence of the failure of the strategy of Sarkozy, a serious rise of the National front after the approval of the leader, marine Le Pen and the formation of a liberal and Pro-European movement “the Union of Democrats and independent” after the failure of françois Bayrou (François Bayrou).
In addition, it is connected with deep changes in the French political life since the 1980-ies, when the Communist party collapsed, and the socialist party decided not to try to change lives, to adapt to neo-liberal globalization.
Until the political life of France was built on the split between left and right on social issues. The popular front with a General strike and the election victory of the left parties was that the first big example. Need to understand whether Republican principles, not only in civil life (election), but also in the workplace. That is, in enterprises against the power of leadership.
The failure of the left from that (it can be accurately dated 1984 with the advent of the TV show “long live the crisis!” and the change of the government the government of Mauroy Fabius) almost did not leave room for a new partition that Bruno Maigret (Bruno Mégret) described in 1997 as a confrontation between “globalists” and “nationalists” (marine Le Pen calls them “patriots”).
Such a split creates more manifested now opposition of Emmanuel Macron and marine Le Pen (and the statement of françois Fillon on March 1 will not change the alignment).
In such conditions it is possible to assume that the semblance of unity “Republicans” will continue until the end of the first round of presidential elections. If the second round will be Le Pen and the macron, the fraction of “Republicans” in the National Assembly will disintegrate in the future the June parliamentary elections.
If the deputies disperse, the General crisis will cover all of the Federation party that will eventually lead to its collapse.