The Cahuzac Case leads to a Moralisation debate in France

By Alexandre Tabankia

An investigative newspaper, hints of a Swiss bank account, a judicial inquiry and the resignation of Jerome Cahuzac, French Minister of Budget. The French media quickly seized what they called ” the Cahuzac case”, the first political scandal of the Holland quinquennium. Today, the case has consequence on French political scene and the “moralisation” debate wanted by the prime minister is far from being over.

The French National Assembly (c) AFP

After months of denial, Cahuzac has finally confessed on April 2, in front of a judge, that held an account in Switzerland for 20 years. The announcement made the effect of a bomb in France and President Holland and his Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault publicly declare their anger and the sense of betrayal they felt after this confession. Cahuzac is now under formal criminal investigation for “laundering the proceeds of fiscal fraud. Accused by the right wing to have known and hidden facts to protect Cahuzac, Francois Hollande certainly did not need such a scandal. With 70% of negative opinion in the polls, Hollande now has to bring concrete measure to prevent such scandals happen again.

Among the measures announced by François Hollande during his intervention on national televisions is the obligation of ministers and elected officials to make public their assets. These measures collect the most criticism, including from the Socialist Party. The French officials expressed their discomfort with the idea of ​​publishing their assets declaration. The President of the Assembly himself warned abouf a risk of “voyeurism” in regards to this announcement by the government to moralize politics. Holland said The draft law on the moralization of politics will be proposed on April 24 by the Council of Ministers.

For the first time in France, the heritage of the 38 ministers and the head of government were announced this Monday, a pledge of transparency desired by the president after the Cahuzac case. As reported by “Libération”, a french newspaper, these statements reveal eight “millionaires” ministers, sometimes adding the assets of their spouse. Unlike his 38 ministers, Francois Hollande did not publish its heritage, since it has already been said a year ago, during the presidential election.

The other measures announced by François Hollande concern the independence of justice, the prevention of conflicts of interest and control of the assets of ministers and parliamentarians. Finally, the ineligibility to elected politics convicted with tax fraud or corruption. In the wake of the case Cahuzac, a CSA poll showed that 55% of French people think that most politicians are corrupt.