Historien om at franske myndigheter forsøkte å dekke over sikkerhetssvikten i Nice er så ødeleggende for president Francois Hollande at han har innsett at han aldri har sjanse på gjenvalg.
Hollandes karriere er slutt når hans periode utløper i mai neste år. Det sier kilder som står presidenten nær til the Times.
President Hollande may be forced to cancel his plans to run for re-election after claims that his government tried to cover up police failings over the Bastille Day terrorist attack.
Mr Hollande told friends that the fiasco could leave him with no option but to retire from politics when his term ends next year, according to a government source.
Pollsters said that he faces humiliation if he does stand, with voters expressing fury at his cabinet’s handling of the attack, which killed 84 people in Nice two weeks ago.
Dermed bekreftes historien som Document hadde mandag om at sentrale myndigheter forsøkte å tildekke at sikkerheten i Nice gjorde det lettere for Mohamed Bouhlel å gjennomføre sitt angrep.
Det verste er ikke svikten, men at myndighetene forsøkte å skjule den. At det er hold i påstandene, synes bekreftet.
Politikvinnen som fortalte om forsøket på å presse henne til å skrive en redigerbar rapport, Sandra Bertin, har dermed fått medhold.
Officials initially claimed that the lorry responsible for the massacre had swerved around an armed police roadblock before ploughing into the crowd, who had been watching a firework display on the beach. It later emerged that only one police vehicle had been blocking the road and that it had been placed there by Nice’s municipal force, which is equipped only with pistols.
National officers armed with more powerful weapons were several hundred metres away and unable to intervene until dozens had been killed.
The controversy was fuelled when Sandra Bertin, the council officer in charge of the city’s CCTV network, said that the interior ministry had tried to persuade her to produce an untruthful account of the attack. She said that a police superintendent dispatched by the ministry had instructed her to write a report stating that CCTV footage showed national police officers at the scene. “The national police officers were perhaps there, but they didn’t appear in the footage,” she said.
Mr Bertin said that she had to “physically eject the ministerial emissary” from her office before writing an honest report.
Maktinngrep er ikke ukjent i fransk politikk, men det sier seg selv at fallhøyden er stor hvis man blir avslørt. Innenriksminister Bernard Cazeneuves ettermæle vil ikke se pent ut. Han blåste seg opp og truet Bertin med rettssak for bakvaskelser. Det fremstår nå som toppen av hykleri.
Franskmenn er ikke i det tilgivende modus. Politikere som spiller med følelsene etter Nice går det ille.
Hollande trodde at han hadde klart å bygge seg opp etter de foregående angrepene som en som tok ansvar og viste handlekraft.
Det var nok en overdrivelse. Men forsøket på tildekking etter Nice har virket helt ødeleggende. Presidenten har forstått det.
Mr Hollande called for “dignity and responsibility” and pledged that “truth and transparency will be established”.
Pollsters said that his words were too little too late. The president is widely seen as having failed in the battle against unemployment. He was credited by voters with responding commendably to the terrorist attacks that killed 17 people in Paris in January last year and a further 130 in November, but the aftermath of the latest attack has demolished that favourable view.
“His candidacy is now going to be very difficult,” said Jérôme Sainte- Marie, chairman of PollingVox, the polling institute. “How can you campaign in these conditions?”
At a meeting with his closest advisers last week, Mr Hollande admitted that he risks the embarrassment of being eliminated in the first round of the two-round election if he is the Socialist candidate. Friends said that unless his ratings improve after the summer holidays he is prepared to announce his retirement from politics when his term ends in May 2017.
Hvem vil være Marine Le Pens utfordrer? Alain Juppe eller Nicolas Sarkozy? Begge gamle velkjent kort, som har vært prøvd før. Vil velgerne gi dem en ny sjanse, eller prøve noe helt nytt?
Mye kan skje innen valget.