February 15, 2017
Fillon under fire
François Fillon nipped in a bud an attempt of 17 Republican MPs demanding a meeting to discuss the withdrawal of his candidature. He told the party that they are a minority and that they should not harass him, but support him. Fillon insisted that there is no alternative to his candidature. Party members complained that campaigning for Fillon is impossible under the current circumstances, and that the 15 days he asked them to have faith in his recovery are over but nothing has improved.
Meanwhile the string of new accusations does not seem to end. Now the spotlight is on Fillon’s speaker, Thierry Solère. Le Canard Enchaîné reveals that he did not pay parts of his taxes for the years 2010-2013. Also, digging in archives, LeLab found interview excerpts of Fillon, lashing out against the low ethical morale in public office, citing in particular Nicolas Sarkozy and one of François Hollande’s ministers. In September 2016 he criticised that politicians are too easily let off the hook. Fillon can now eat his words.
Fabien Clairefond makes a good point saying that Fillon is not alone, and that temptations are manifold in a country where public expenditure to GDP ratio is 57% and where access to public money is relatively easy. He gives an impressive long list of those cases.
In response to Clairefond: the point is that none of those tried to get elected as president. Abuse of public funds by candidates or their staff compromises the integrity of the candidate, especially in the eyes of those who feel like they are the ones who lost out. Or is the argument that since everyone is a sinner, it does not matter in the end?