Former French PM Villepin takes bar oath
Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin was sworn in as a lawyer on WednesdayPARIS, January 9, 2008 - Former French prime minister Dominique de
Villepin was sworn in as a lawyer Wednesday, paving the way for him to open
his own practice.
"It is a great pride for me to wear this robe today. It was one of my
childhood dreams: so you see, there are dreams that do come true," Villepin
told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.
A career diplomat, Villepin holds a degree in law as well as from France's
prestigious National School of the Administration. He intends to specialise in
cases "with an international angle," his aides said.
Villepin, 54, was placed under judicial investigation in July and faces
possible criminal charges over a smear campaign targeting President Nicolas
Sarkozy -- the so-called Clearstream affair.
But the president of the Paris bar, Christian Charriere-Bournazel, said the
case did not prevent him from practising law.
"If lawyers start trampling on the presumption of innocence, it would be a
strange world," said Charriere-Bournazel.
Since leaving office in May, Villepin has emerged as an outspoken opponent
of Sarkozy -- with whom he has always had tense relations. The pair were for a
long time seen as rivals for the ruling party's presidential nomination.