PARIS, Feb 7 (AFP) – More than half of the French public does not want former prime minister Alain Juppe to go on playing a political role in the future following his conviction for illegal party funding, according to a new poll.
Forty-two percent of those questioned said they favoured Juppe continuing to play a role in politics, the Ifop poll conducted for Sunday’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper said.
Juppe announced he planned to stay in politics pending his appeal against the conviction in a television interview on Tuesday.
A few days earlier he had been sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail term and a 10-year ban on elected office.
The poll, carried out by telephone on February 6 among 964 people, was published a day before a congress of Juppe’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party.
The congress is due to give momentum to the campaign for March’s regional elections, and though not officially on the agenda the question of Juppe’s successor as the party’s president is now likely to feature.
Juppe, a close ally of President Jacques Chirac and widely tipped as his possible successor, said he would retain his seat in the National Assembly and the mayorship of the southwestern city of Bordeaux pending the appeal which is due in about a year.
But he indicated he wanted to be replaced as head of Chirac’s UMP party at its congress in November.
Juppe took part on Saturday in his first meeting since his conviction. He arrived at the political gathering with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.
“During these last days you have shown me your support, your friendship and your affection,” Juppe told the meeting.
“You know that that has been decisive for me.”
Subject: France news