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It’s “judgment day” for Dominique de Villepin

The Clearstream case pitted the French President against former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, accused of covering up a smear campaign against Nicolas Sarkozy when he was Minister for the Interior. The verdict is due today and will be decisive for Villepin’s political future.

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Le Figaro covers the Clearstream trial in detail going back over a case that gripped the French public last autumn. The former Prime Minister and political enemy of Nicolas Sarkozy saw himself in the dock. He was accused of being aware of a smear campaign against Sarkozy and failing to act in the hope that his opponent would be damaged politically. Both men hoped to win the UMP party’s nomination for the Presidential election in 2007 therefore there was considerable motive for Villepin to resort to “dirty tactics”. Villepin has accused Sarkozy of playing dirty tricks too, in particular in having gone ahead with the Clearstream case in a bid to ruin Villepin’s political career.

Le Parisien says no matter what the verdict is today, Villepin’s goal is to run for the 2012 Presidential election. According to his supporters, the Clearstream trial strengthened him politically.

France Soir’s editorial compares the Clearstream Trial to Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, a fight to the death in two acts.
Act 1 was last autumn’s trial and Act 2 is today’s verdict. There is however a third act – that’s the 2012 Presidential election.

The satirical paper le Canard Enchainé features an imagined interview with Villepin on its front page.When asked his goals, Villepin answered that he wanted to win just 2% of the electoral tally in 2012, “enough to sink Sarkozy”!

Other stories in today’s French papers:

Le Parisien: “Industry bosses who have more than one job”

Libération: Today’s paper is entirely illustrated by comic artists. This is to mark the Angoulême International Comics Festival in the South-West of France, starting today.

L’Equipe: France’s hopes are pinned on Jo-Wilfred Tsonga who won yesterday’s Australian Open quarter final and will now face the world number 1, Roger Federer, in tomorrow’s semi-final.
 

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