Now you may be surprised that voters would place their confidence in such a man, but he is far from being the only example of a corrupt politician being elected or re-elected in France. Here are some more examples....
Currently a UMP deputy and mayor in the Paris region, his criminal record includes fictitious salaries for non-existent municipal employees and slanderous allegations of corruption. He has physically threatened polical opponents, sexually harrassed female staff and other politicians, been accused of rape and sexual aggression, and threatened one of his lovers with a handgun (she said) in order to force her to commit a fellation upon him.
18 months suspended and a fine of 30,000 francs for misuse of corporate assets and paying himself a salary of 10,500 francs for a fictitious job. He is the current chairman of the French Socialist Party and a European MP.
Found guilty in 2000 of illegal conflict of interests and given an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros, he is currently a member of parliament.
No longer active in politics, he was elected as mayor for the town of Béthune after being found guilty of perjury and false witness statement in an affair involving match-fixing in football.
Re-elected as a General Counselor for the Yvelines region after being convicted of passive corruption and misuse of company assets. He received a sentence of 18 months suspended and a fine of 50,000 euros.
A former Socialist Party State Secretary, he is currently a General Council president. Convicted in 1997 for influence peddling, he was handed down an 18-month suspended sentence and a two-year suspension of his civic rights.
Mayor of Bordeaux since 2006. Illegal campaign financing and fictitious jobs which led him to be convicted in 2004 of conflict of interest, embezzlement and breach of trust. 18 months suspended and ten years of ineligibility to stand for an electoral mandate. Reduced on appeal to 14 months suspended and one year of ineligibility.
These are but a few of the many corrupt politicians who get re-elected, so it's not surprising that yet another man with a shady background is trying to do the same thing today. He is Jérôme Cahuzac, a former budget minister in charge of tax collection who was recently charged with having a money laundering bank account in Switzerland and subsequently chucked out of office for lying about it in parliament.
It's a curious phenomenon that I just don't understand, and I'm not the only one, seeing as ne'er a month goes by without some journalist or psychologist or someone musing in the press about the reasons for it. Some say it's because giving these people a second chance makes them feel better about their own skeletons in their own cupboards, and others put it down to 'supporting the underdog', which French people like to say they do. As for me, my jury's still out on the question.
So, would you vote for a politician who has been found guilty of corruption? Does this happen in your own country to any great degree?