In a break with French political tradition, Chirac has criticised his successor in his new memoirs.

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Chirac criticises Sarkozy in his memoirs

In a break with French political tradition, Chirac has criticised his successor in his new memoirs.

Chirac criticises Sarkozy in his memoirs

The attacks appear in the second volume of the memoirs, called Le temps presidentiel. Extracts are being published in a number of media outlets this week.

 

In Le Point, Chirac characterizes the President as “nervous, impetuous, brimming with ambition and not doubting anything, certainly not himself”. He mentions several conflicts the two had when Sarkozy was Chirac’s Interior Minister, a post he held until 2007.

 

“I refused to get involved in the test of strength that he tried to establish between us. I felt this could only be destructive to our institutions”. It was as Interior Minister that Sarkozy made his infamous comment after the riots in November 2005 that he would like to clear away the scum or rabble of the suburbs with a Kärcher high-powered hose. Chirac cites this as an example of his often “misplaced declarations”.

 

In another extract to be published in Le Nouvel Observateur, he describes the night of Sarkozy’s victory on May 6th 2007.

 

“We were all at the Elysée Palace with my wife, Bernadette, and my grandson Martin, to listen to the first declaration of the future Head of State. We all listened very carefully to each word, each sentence, hoping for the moment when he would say the name of the person he was succeeding and even to thank him for the support he had given. But this moment didn’t come. I didn’t show the slightest reaction, but it affected me and I knew from then where I stood.” 

 

Not all the former President’s assessments are bad. Chirac also acknowledges Sarkozy’s qualities, his strong work ethic and his talent for the media and describes him as “one of the most gifted politicians of his generation”. 

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POLITICS

Macron calls for stricter Twitter controls on Covid disinformation

French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Twitter's new boss Elon Musk on Thursday, saying the entrepreneur was wrong to drop the fight against Covid disinformation as he slashes back content moderation on the platform.

Macron calls for stricter Twitter controls on Covid disinformation

With his country facing a fresh surge in coronavirus infections, Macron said the subject of misleading Covid information should be addressed head on, not swept under the rug.

“I think this is a big issue,” Macron, on a state visit to the United States, told broadcaster ABC. “What I push very much, for one, is exactly the opposite: more regulation.”

He said such protections have been implemented and enforced in France and “at the European level.”

Freedom of expression remains paramount, Macron insisted, “but there is responsibilities and limits” to what can be written and disseminated.

“You cannot go into the streets and have a racist speech or anti-Semitic speech,” the French leader said. “You cannot put at risk the life of somebody else. Violence is never legitimate in democracy.”

Macron’s concept of freedom of expression within acceptable limits is far from the libertarian approach of Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist” who has sacked many of the Twitter employees tasked with content moderation.

Musk has begun to allow Twitter users banned from the platform for posting disinformation, such as former US president Donald Trump, to return.

And it emerged this week that Twitter has stopped enforcing a rule preventing users from sharing misleading information about Covid-19 and vaccine effectiveness.

The billionaire Musk has made no secret of his fierce opposition to health restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic, especially when they meant the temporary shuttering of his Tesla electric vehicle factory in California.

“To say that they can not leave their house and they will be arrested if they do… this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom,” Musk raged in April 2020 on a conference call with analysts.

On Wednesday the European Union issued a sharp warning to Musk, saying he must do “significantly” more to fight disinformation, such as reinforcement of content moderation, in order to comply with EU law.

“There is still huge work ahead” for Twitter, said Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market.

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