BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 21 May, 2001, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Chirac faces impeachment bid
French President Jacques Chirac
Observers say there is little chance Chirac will be impeached
Thirty French members of parliament have signed a petition to impeach President Jacques Chirac over corruption allegations.


How can we explain... that presidents Joseph Estrada, Alberto Fujimori and Richard Nixon can be tried but no judge can be found in France to try President Jacques Chirac?

Impeachment petition
The deputies - mainly backbenchers from the ruling Socialist Party - are calling for Mr Chirac to face charges for alleged corruption during his long tenure as mayor of Paris.

"The issue is whether a president who is implicated in scandals, as two judicial inquiries have proven, can run for re-election," said Noel Mamere of the Green Party.

Last month, a judge dropped his investigation into the allegations, saying it was pointless in the face of Mr Chirac's immunity.

Evidence

Judge Eric Halphen said, however, he had substantial evidence linking Mr Chirac - either as a prime mover or as an accomplice - to corrupt practices during his 18-year reign over Paris.

Seventy-seven people are currently under judicial investigation over allegations that Mr Chirac's Rally for the Republic party lined its pockets with bribes under his mayorship.


We believe that bringing the president before the High Court of Justice is not the right solution at this time

Socialist Party spokesman Vincent Peillon
Now the only way for Mr Chirac to face charges while still in office is for parliament to move to impeach him.

Arnaud Montebourg, the socialist deputy who is leading the campaign for impeachment, needs another 28 signatures to be able to bring the bill before parliament.

"Of the 500 or so deputies I still need to see, it would be quite incredible if I didn't find 28 who would sign my proposal," he said.

"How can we explain to our compatriots that crimes committed by presidents Joseph Estrada, Alberto Fujimori and Richard Nixon can be tried but no judge can be found in France to try President Jacques Chirac?" his petition asks.

Official disapproval

But Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Socialist Party has officially disowned Mr Montebourg's campaign.

"Arnaud Montebourg is forging ahead with his own crusade," said party spokesman Vincent Peillon.

"We believe that bringing the president before the High Court of Justice is not the right solution at this time."

Observers say that there is little hope of Mr Montebourg's petition making it through parliament, particularly through the conservative-controlled senate.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

26 Apr 01 | Europe
Chirac probe dropped
29 Mar 01 | Europe
No-show Chirac faces press anger
28 Mar 01 | Europe
Chirac refuses court summons
28 Sep 00 | Europe
Cheques, lies and videotape
11 Jan 00 | Europe
Court upholds Chirac's immunity
19 Mar 01 | Europe
Chirac's accidental victory?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories