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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Juppé officialise son retour

by Rosa Moussaoui

Juppé Makes it Official: He’s Back

Translated Wednesday 6 September 2006, by Allen G Harris Jr.

The Right: The former chief of the UMP [1] is out to recover the official positions he gave up in 2004.

He says he is making his comeback “for Bordeaux,” a city for which he has “always had a passion.” Alain Juppé deliberately chose to adopt a very “local” tone in officially announcing his return to French politics. After the resignation Monday of the majority faction members of the city council, the former prime minister confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that in the coming weeks he will lead “the same [party] list as in 2001.” Proudly recalling his record when he was mayor of the Gironde’s major city from 1995 to 2004, Juppé laid out the three main lines of his upcoming campaign: “economic dynamism, environmental leadership, maintenance of social support programs and cultural progress.” And: “I will be a candidate in the second district” in the 2007 legislative elections.

During an interview August 29 on France 3 television about his possible role in national politics, Juppé was a little less than open. “We’ll see later on,” he remarked while stressing that he still has the “passion for politics and the great debates that shape the future of the nation.” “Of course, I will participate in this debate of ideas,” he said. While Nicolas Sarkozy, (France’s interior minister and current head of the UMP party) reportedly has indicated he would concede to him the post of speaker of the National Assembly should the right win, Juppe made a show of brushing off speculation about political scenarios and inside deals. “That kind of politics is completely alien to me,” [2] he said in a nod toward the UMP chief. An initial politeness that could give way to new upheavals on the right a few months before a presidential election for which the stage setting still remains uncertain.

Rosa Moussaoui

Translator’s note:
Parallel document

[1Alain Juppé, 61, is a former prime minister, foreign minister and mayor of Bordeaux. He is a long-time ally of President Jacques Chirac and also served as president of Chirac’s Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (formerly the Rassemblement Pour la République). In December 2004, Juppé had to step down as mayor of Bordeaux and leave his other official posts after he was convicted for his role in an RPR ghost-payroll scandal when Chirac was Paris mayor (1977-95). He was ineligible to hold office for one year and taught in Montréal before moving back to Bordeaux this summer. On Aug. 28, the 50-member rightwing majority of the Bordeaux city council resigned, opening the door to a special election and Juppé’s possible election as mayor. The first round of balloting will be October 8.

[2France 3, Edition Nationale 12/13 of Aug. 29, 2006: Anchorman Stephane Lippert asked Juppé if he would be interested in Sarkozy’s reported offer of the assembly speaker’s post in case the right won the presidency in 2007. Juppé replied: “Vraiment, pendant cette année, cette façon de faire de la politique m’est devenue totalement étrangère."


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