France’s Alain Juppe, a man who would be president, finds out in court today whether he can stay in politics at all, let alone dream of one day taking over as head of state from Jacques Chirac.
A judge delivers his verdict in a trial where prosecutors sought an eight-year suspended prison term for the Chirac protege who they say illegally used Paris municipal funds to pay political allies.
The 58-year-old has been steadily clawing his way back to the top since his demise as one of the nation’s most unloved prime ministers in 1997, but a conviction would automatically make him ineligible for public office.
“I’d quit politics,” Juppe said when asked this month what he would do if things went against him. Commentators took that as a sign that he would not even appeal if convicted.
Juppe is one of 27 people sent to court over a scam in the late 1980s and early 1990s in which funds from Paris City Hall were used to pay members of Chirac’s RPR political party at a time when Chirac himself was mayor of Paris.0