As soon as the announcement that Dupont-Moretti would take over the role as France's justice minister was made on Monday, social media filled with comments expressing disbelief.
— Pierre B. (@Pierre_B_y) July 6, 2020
Eric Dupont-moretti MINISTRE
— AuPalais (@palais_au) July 6, 2020
It was, analysts said, a sole shock-appointment in a government revamp indicating a general tilt to the right.
Dupond-Moretti insisted on Tuesday that he was standing on the side of the French.
“I am at war with no one,” he said at a press conference.
“I will, together with you, keep the best and change the worst.”
But he has a lot of people to win over. Here's why.
1. He's a star lawyer but defends controversial people
At 59, Dupond-Moretti has achieved a reputation as a star criminal lawyer. His record in winning acquittals for his clients has earned him the nickname Acquittator (the Acquitter).
??? [ALERTE] – Éric Dupont-#Moretti est nommé ministre de la #Justice. Il est surnommé “#Acquittator” en raison d'un nombre record d'acquittements devant les Cours d'assises. (Alexis Kohler) #RemaniementMinisteriel pic.twitter.com/tl0dsUYeLb
— La Plume Libre (@LPLdirect) July 6, 2020
Not only does Dupond-Moretti have controversial opinions, he is also not afraid of speaking them.
He is a “strange mixture of hunter and bullfight enthusiast and left-wing politics,” said political commentator John Lichfield, who writes for The Local.
Dupont-Moretti is strange mixture of hunter and bullfight enthusiast and left-wing politics. Something for everyone or accident waiting to happen.
— John Lichfield (@john_lichfield) July 6, 2020
France daily Le Monde compared Dupont-Moretti to the highly divisive persona of Didier Raoult, the world-famous French virologist known for his controversial medical stances and his stout defense of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. He has become a global symbol of what happens when the paths of science and populism cross.
Dupond-Moretti, the Le Monde article said, had the same effect in the judicial world as Raoult had in the medical world. Giving him the keys to the justice ministry had an immediate effect of “flabbergast” and “disbelief” among lawyers.
5. He wants to ban Marine Le Pen's far-right party
Not only is he despised among many feminists and people belonging to the liberal left, he has also made the French far-right party Rassemblement National (formerly Front National) his enemy by saying they should be banned.
“The FN is not a republican party, we need to ban it,” Dupond-Moretti told France Inter back in 2015.
Five years later, his comment has not been forgotten by the party members, who quickly condemned the decision to make him justice minister.
“A far-left militant who wants to ban RN, the largest opposition party, has been named to (head) the justice (department), tweeted party leader Marine Le Pen.
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) July 6, 2020