PARIS, Feb 5 (AFP) – A clear majority of the French public supports the decision by former prime minister Alain Juppe to stay in politics pending his appeal against a conviction for illegal party funding, according to a poll Thursday.
In the IFOP survey in Le Figaro newspaper, 62 percent of those questioned approved Juppe’s decision, announced in a television interview Tuesday, and 38 percent opposed it. Among voters for Juppe’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, support jumped to 89 percent.
Some 65 percent of the public said Juppe was convincing and 63 percent said he was sincere.
However a majority – 55 percent – also thought the decision would have a negative impact for the UMP in regional elections in March, and 57 percent said it would have a negative impact for President Jacques Chirac.
Juppe was put under pressure to leave the presidency of the UMP – as well as his seat in the National Assembly and the mayorship of Bordeaux – after being sentenced on Friday to an 18 month suspended jail term and a 10 year bar on elected office.
But on Tuesday he told television viewers that his punishment was excessive and that he was staying in politics to fight the verdict on appeal.
The former prime minister is a close ally of Chirac. He was found guilty of organising the payment of party workers with Paris municipal funds when Chirac was the capital’s mayor.
Subject: France news