Sarkozy to sue over claim Gaddafi funded campaign
The ghost of the late Muammar Gaddafi continued to haunt the French election campaign yesterday as a poll showed President Sarkozy gaining some ground on the Socialist frontrunner, François Hollande.
Mr Sarkozy announced that he planned to sue an investigative website which had published a document implying that the Gaddafi regime in Tripoli had funded his 2007 run for the presidency. The website, Mediapart, said that it looked forward to revealing all its information on dealings between the late Libyan dictator and Mr Sarkozy during a future libel action.
Whether Mr Sarkozy would fight such a court case as president or ex-president will be decided on Sunday when France votes in the second round of the presidential election. Recent opinion polls have shown the Socialist challenger, Mr Hollande, eight to 10 points ahead of the President. An Ipsos poll published yesterday suggested that Mr Hollande's lead had slimmed to six points, putting him at 53 per cent to Sarkozy's 47 per cent. A narrowing of the gap in the final days was expected, however, and Ipsos pollsters said that everything still pointed to a Hollande victory on Sunday.
President Sarkozy has dismissed Mediapart's allegations of Libyan funding of his 2007 campaign as an act of "infamy" and a "manipulation" inspired by the Hollande campaign. However, confusion continued to surround the affair yesterday. The senior Gaddafi-era official who was supposed to have received the incriminating document in December 2006, Bachir Saleh, is now living in France, apparently under government protection. Mr Saleh, whose extradition is being sought by the new government in Tripoli, has denied that he ever saw the document or was ever involved in illegal campaign funding.
The French Prime Minister, François Fillon, yesterday rejected allegations that France was blocking Mr Saleh's extradition despite an Interpol arrest warrant. He said no such warrant existed. Mr Saleh's French lawyer later admitted, however, that his client was the subject of an Interpol "red" warrant, which had been published on the internet.
Meanwhile, Mr Sarkozy has been attempting to create a coherent philosophy for his abrupt swing to the right since the National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen, scored 17.9 per cent in the first round of the election on 22 April.
In campaign meetings in Toulouse on Sunday and in Avignon yesterday, He said there was a difference between "national feeling" which was "highly respectable" and "nationalism" which was "profoundly dangerous". "Love of country" should not be confused with "hatred of others," he said.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Video: Woolwich attack - man with bloodied hands and knife addresses camera
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.