This campaign really does seem like a race to see which candidate can have the most damaging books written about them before election day. Segolene Royal has already endured one written by a fomer assisstant and then another by former economic advisor Eric Besson. Now it's Sarkozy's turn.
Azouz Begag was France's Equal Opportunities Minister until he resigned just two days ago. Begag announced in March that he would not be supporting the candidate of the current government, but instead UDF candidate Francois Bayrou. But he is not leaving quietly. In a soon to be published book entitled "A sheep in the bathtube", Begag accuses Sarkozy of verbal intimidation just after public dispute between them during the 2005 suburb riots.
"He (Sarkozy) came down on me like a tonne of bricks," Begag writes in the book, excerpts of which appeared in this week's issue of the French magazine Marianne.
Begag says a furious Sarkozy called him on the telephone, yelling: "You're an asshole, a disloyal bastard! I'm going to smash your face."
"The interior minister told me, in a final threat, never to shake his hand again, or there would be trouble."
Sarkozy responded to the book-excerpts yesterday, first saying that the accusations cannot be true because he never met Begag, and second that it is simply a "shameless lie" to "make himself (Begag) interesting." I understand Sarkozy anger, but the first statement is a but hard to fathom considering the picture at top right.
Segolene Royal, referring more to the resignation of Begag than the book accusations, told the media that this is "final proof of the divorce between Nicolas Sarkozy and French people of immigrant origin." She will likely do very well among minority voters, and is counting on new widespread voter registration in poorer areas to bring up her numbers.
Technorati tags: Ségolène Royal, Segolene Royal, Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Pen, Bayrou, UMP, PS, politics, politique, présidentielle, actualité, news, France