Many well-placed observers expected François Fillon, the French centre-right presidential candidate to finally pull the plug on his beleaguered campaign as news of him being put under formal investigation finally broke. After all, that was what he promised to do.
But it appears the ties betwixt France and Slovenia, the proud observer in La Francophonie, the former Ilyrian province of the French Empire and one of the few European countries other than France to have fond memories of a certain Corsican corporal, are more than just historic and/or cultural. In particular, they seem to include a former French prime minister heavily copying the playbook of a former Slovenian prime minister.
Now, pengovsky doesn’t usually write about French politics. Mostly because, despite his best efforts, his French still basically consists of imitating the late Gordon Kaye. But beyond that there’s also the fact that the the politics of the land of liberté, égalité et fraternité is oftentimes just too ooh la la to take it seriously insofar it does not include a woman scorned running against her ex-boyfriend (who went on to become president) or the tits of Carla Bruni. N’est-ce pas?
On a related note: why is it that derps such as François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy get all these good looking and smart women? I mean even on a good day between them they’ve got as much sex appeal as a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys and yet both of them kept their hands full at all times. Elles sont fous ces Françaises…
Anyways, despite the above, the reason for writing about baguette politics is the fact that monsieur Fillon, while putting up the last-ditch defence of his presidential campaign basically copied the “best of” edition of playbook by his fellow right-wing traveller, former Slovenian prime minister and self-styled leader of the opposition Janez Janša of the Patria Affair.
This included claims of misuse of judicial system (attacks on the judiciary, check), claiming to be the victim of a political assassination plot (conspiracy theories, check; victimization, check) as well as belief that democracy stands or falls with his case (delusions of grandeur, check). And to top it all of, he backed out on his word to drop out of the race should he be placed under formal investigation. Just as Janša backed out on his word to resign if he were indicted. Because, you know, they both assumed they’d be treated fairly and the very fact that the prosecution did intervene shows they’re not being treated fairly.
Thusfar, all is well. Fillon executed the manoeuvre flawlessly and on a par with other luminaries who have employed Janša’s refined political and media tactics such as Donald Trump, Jarosław Kaczyński and Viktor Orbán. But this is only the first step.
It is vital now that monsieur Fillon does everything in his power to undermine and stall the legal proceedings and at the same time question the fairness of those proceedings. Better yet, have his friends do it for him and en passant demand the judiciary be cleansed of the corrupt element (for there must be a lot of corruption in the courts if you’re the one on trial). Don’t forget to attack the media and accuse journalists to be doing his enemies’ bidding and – ultimately – question the election result.
Sure, by going down this path, Fillon may have, like Janša, fatally hurt his chances at winning the election (any election) and shrunk his base to just the hardcore supporters who will stick with him come hell or high water, but this is about more than that. It is about democracy and the rule of law, right?