Le Scoop: Cécilia Sarkozy (born as Cecilia María Sara Isabel Ciganer, later Ciganer-Albéniz, born November 12, 1957 in Boulogne-Billancourt) is the wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.//PARIS (AFP)—Cecilia Sarkozy is a fiercely independent former model and PR executive unlikely to fit easily into the discreet role of first lady. // Of Jewish-Spanish ancestry, Cecilia’s foreign roots match those of Sarkozy, whose father is a Hungarian immigrant and his mother of Greek Jewish origin.//
After one hundred days on the job, Sarko is being rated by the French press. He gets kudos for putting some leftist bigwigs into his government, and A for energy, but now his spouse, Cecilia, is crowding the headlines.
The fact that Cecilia didn’t show up at the polls on the day the nation voted her husband into office caught some comment, and since then she has mostly stayed out of sight. Then, recently, she twice jumped a plane to Libya, and made her way into the public eye again.
Five Bulgarian nurses, condemned to death by a Libyan court years ago, were liberated from Libyan jails a few days after Cecilia’s visit to Libya. This coincidence was rated by some observers as a coup for her husband Nicolas, while others claim that her not-at-all-protocol visit was not only an insult to the entire French diplomatic corps who’d been working on the release for years, but had also caused the Libyans to stiffen their demands before finally signing.
Coincidence was added to coincidence when France and Libya signed a 400 million euro arms deal a few days later.
Too much coincidence here, said Mr. Hollande, the former roommate of Segolene and more or less the acknowledged leader of today’s French Left. Mr. Hollande suggested in fact that Cecilia ought to drop in at the Assembly and tell them what exactly she was doing down there that week and whether there was more than coincidence at work.
Now intervenes the hundred-day wonder, her husband, and announces that no, Madame has nothing to say. And thus Nicolas, who began his term by imitating GWB (tax breaks for the rich) again takes his cue from the man at the desk in Washington. He declares a French version of ‘Executive Privilege’, claiming that members of the executive branch are in various ways above the law.
The French judiciary is reeling and examining whether Cecilia is legally bound to speak or not. They note that since Cecilia apparently had no official executive role in the government it’s not sure if she can be covered by any kind of executive umbrella.
In America, ‘executive privilege’ was first foisted off on the people by Nixon, if memory serves, and has been applied non-stop since then by every US president — to cover up various matters.
The question now is whether the French judicial system and the French public is going to roll over and play dead when confronted with ‘executive privilege’— the way the American public did thirty-three years ago when Nixon and his lawyers sold it to them.
Shayne Nelson is Cyrano’s Paris correspondent.