Jail sentence for Nicolas Sarkozy

For the first time in the history of France, an ex-president has received a custodial sentence. A court in Paris has sentenced Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison without parole for illegal campaign financing. In a last-ditch attempt to win against François Hollande in the 2012 election, Sarkozy far exceeded the campaign budget limit. An event company helped to cover up the costs. Europe's press analyses the verdict.

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L'Obs (FR) /

Like a feverish rock star

L'Obs recaps the final stages of the 2012 election campaign:

“Convinced he could beat François Hollande with just days to go, Nicolas Sarkozy, launched a wild chase. ... He multiplied the rallies, with massive rage in his belly, like a reckless and feverish rock star. ... He was on the verge of achieving his goal. It is this chaotic and frenetic final push that has now become the former president's undoing. ... And also his less than friendly behaviour towards the judges, of course, whom he openly mocked as [indistinguishable] 'little peas'. An unparalleled outrage that they never got over.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

An end to France's bad habits

The verdict is a symbol of a changed Grande Nation, writes the Kleine Zeitung:

“For a long time, people turned a blind eye to minor affairs and even major scandals. People in power who took advantage of everything were somehow part of the French local colour. It made for funny anecdotes, fed disenchantment with politics and strengthened the populists. ... Because the judge went further than the prosecution requested, the verdict is now seen as a signal that a new era has finally begun in Paris: no one gets off without punishment anymore.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Influencing the conservative camp is also passé

Der Tagesspiegel also observes with satisfaction:

“France may have had presidents who went overboard in many respects in the past. But now it also has a judiciary that takes tough action. ... Even if the verdict is not yet final and Sarkozy appeals, the decision sends an important signal. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, at least two things are certain seven months before the presidential election: Sarkozy must bury his plans to influence the selection of candidates in the conservative camp indirectly. And more than ever, the candidates must be transparent about the origins of their financial supporters.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

He could have learned a few tricks from Putin

Compared to Putin's abuse of power Sarkozy's misdemeanours are mere trifles, satirist Viktor Zhenderovich mocks in Echo of Moscow:

“That was peanuts! And they call themselves a great power? ... Where is the ambition, Nicolas? How about violating the constitution and giving yourself a third term? Corrupting the National Assembly? Buying off judges? Or rounding up a hundred thousand civil servants from all the regions and provinces and using them to whip up election campaign ads for prime time on all the TV channels? Or counting the votes in such a way that Hollande wouldn't stand a chance? They didn't have the guts to simply exclude Hollande from the elections, huh?”