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Le Nouvel Observateur - France | Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sarkozy casts himself as victim

France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday denounced his arrest and questioning as a conspiracy on the part of the government and judiciary. The liberal weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur doubts he'll be successful with his claims: "This defence strategy isn't new. It consists of shifting the legal proceedings into the political realm and creating an affair within the affair, in effect 'an affair of state'. It means confusing the public and telling supporters exactly what they want to believe. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi perfected this tactic for many years, presenting himself as a victim of judges in 'red robes', who, he claimed, were motivated by political objectives. Such a strategy could also work for Sarkozy. But on two conditions: his backing by the party militants and grassroots supporters must not be eroded, and the UMP leaders must join ranks behind him. The first is possible, the second is far from certain."

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