French President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy have led a war of words in the media, commenting on the current situation in Poland.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy first gave an interview for the Le Monde daily, where he was asked to comment on the state of democracy in Central Europe. “I saw the Kaczyński brothers in office. They respected European principles and relinquished power after losing elections,” Sarkozy said, referring to fraternal twins Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński who cofounded the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, currently in government.
The centre-right leaning Sarkozy took office in May 2007, just a few months before PiS lost the October general elections in Poland. Speaking to Le Monde, Sarkozy added that “after 50 years of the communist yoke, Poland and Hungary are well-functioning democracies”. In reaction to the interview, France’s incumbent President Francois Hollande, a long-time associate of the Socialist party, expressed an opposite view when he told the Europe1 radio station that “the former President of the [French] Republic apparently thinks that what is happening in Hungary and Poland, is wonderful”.
“I do not want a society like this,” Hollande said. Both politicians are potential candidates of their parties in the next French presidential election, scheduled for April and May, 2017. Recently, Poland has been under international scrutiny for a conflict over its constitutional court.