France: favorite in presidential election in sights of Justice and it’s heavy


The former Prime Minister and mayor of Le Havre, Édouard Philippe, encounters the gravest allegations as he readies for the 2027 presidential election, where he is currently favoured in all polls. Since last December, he has been under inquiry by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) for “illegal taking of interests, embezzlement of public funds, favouritism, and moral harassment.” These accusations carry considerable weight.

There is some room for positiveness, as other prominent figures within the majority, such as the Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, and the High Commissioner for Planning, François Bayrou, have been acquitted of similar charges. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the accusations against Philippe appear more substantial in comparison.


It was the newspaper Le Monde which broke the news this Wednesday, April 3. He revealed that a search took place today at the Town Hall of the Normandy commune and the headquarters of the urban community of Le Havre. The anti-corruption office (Oclciff) and the Rouen judicial police are conducting the research.

But the former Prime Minister is not the solely one in the PNF sights, a deputy at the town hall, Stéphanie de Bazelaire and the director of services of the Le Havre Seine Métropole urban community, Claire-Sophie Tasias, are in the same boat. Their setbacks arose from a complaint lodged in September 2023 by a former employee. They are accused of having been involved in crimes surrounding the operation of the Digital City of Normandy city.

“What will happen will happen,” responded Philippe’s circle to HuffPost, until now the best place to defend the chances of Emmanuel Macron’s camp in the 2027 elections. “The mayor, elected officials and teams of the city of Le Havre and the urban community (…) are fully and calmly at the disposal of the prosecution to provide all the elements required for the investigation”, firmly argued all the suspects in this case.

The most problematic point is a deal sealed between the urban community and the LH French Tech association to manage the Digital City of Le Havre. The problem is that the volunteer president of LH French Tech, Stéphanie de Bazelaire, is also Édouard Philippe’s deputy at a town hall in charge of innovation. A clear conflict of interest. According to the same source, Philippe was uncovered by whistleblowers and lawyers from the urban community.

“This is extremely encouraging for the status of whistleblower and for all public officials who, in the exercise of their functions, including at the highest level, witness facts likely to constitute violations,” commented Christelle Mazza, attorney for the plaintiff. “They constitute, and this affair demonstrates at this stage, true democratic sentinels,” she added.

It remains to be seen whether the future presidential candidate will leave any feathers there. Another favourite, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally, could have profited from Philippe’s glitches. Except that she too, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen and a plethora of people have a meeting with the courts next September to explain the alleged embezzlement of European funds.

Unless it is the very restless and ambitious Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin or the young Prime Minister Gabriel Attal who benefits from the possible fall of Philippe. We will see, 2027 is still very far away…

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