Gérald Darmanin

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Gérald Darmanin
Gérald Darmanin 2019 (cropped).jpg
Minister of the Interior
Assumed office
6 July 2020
Prime MinisterJean Castex
Preceded byChristophe Castaner
Minister of Public Action and Accounts
In office
17 May 2017 – 6 July 2020
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byChristian Eckert
(Secretary of State for the Budget and Public Accounts)
Succeeded byOlivier Dussopt
Mayor of Tourcoing
In office
23 May 2020 – 3 September 2020
Preceded byJean-Marie Vuylsteker
Succeeded byDoriane Bécue
In office
4 April 2014 – 9 September 2017
Preceded byMichel-François Delannoy
Succeeded byDidier Droart
Member of the National Assembly
for Nord's 10th constituency
In office
20 June 2012 – 27 January 2016
Preceded byChristian Vanneste
Succeeded byVincent Ledoux
Personal details
Born
Gérald Moussa Darmanin

(1982-10-11) 11 October 1982 (age 39)
Valenciennes, France
NationalityFrench
Political partyUnion for a Popular Movement (before 2015)
The Republicans (2015–2017)
La République En Marche! (since 2017)
Alma materSciences Po Lille
ProfessionJurist

Gérald Moussa Darmanin (born 11 October 1982) is a French politician serving as Minister of the Interior in the government of Prime Minister Jean Castex since 2020. A former member of The Republicans (LR), he has been a member of La République En Marche! (REM) since 2017. Darmanin was Mayor of Tourcoing from 2014 to 2017 and Minister of Public Action and Accounts in the first and second government of Prime Minister Édouard Philippe from 2017 until 2020.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Darmanin was born to a working-class family with Algerian, Armenian and Maltese roots.[3] His father, Gérard Darmanin, managed a bistro and his mother, Annie Ouakid, worked as a cleaner.[4] His maternal grandfather, Moussa Ouakid, born in 1907 in the douar of Ouled Ghalia (Ouarsenis) in Algeria, was a Chief Warrant Officer in the French Army and decorated with the Médaille militaire.[5] He served in the Algerian tirailleurs and was also a résistant in the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) during the Second World War.[6]

Darmanin struggled academically while attending a public school in Valenciennes, so his parents decided to pay for private education in Paris. When they ran out of money for tuition, the school allowed Darmanin to finish his studies for free; in exchange, he had to spend years working as a hall monitor. After working odd jobs that included singing in the metro and waiting tables, he enrolled at Sciences Po Lille.[7]

Early career[edit]

Early on, Darminin worked as a parliamentary assistant for conservative MP Isabelle Vasseur before joining former minister and then Member of the European Parliament Jacques Toubon.[8] He was taken under the wing of Toubon, who introduced him to UMP leaders such as Xavier Bertrand and helped him become chief of staff to Sarkozy’s Minister of Sports, David Douillet.[9]

Political career[edit]

Early beginnings[edit]

In the 2012 legislative election, Darmanin was elected to the National Assembly in the tenth constituency of Nord; at the time, he was one of the country’s youngest lawmakers.[10] He ran two years later for election as Mayor of Tourcoing and won, establishing himself on the national political scene.[11] Former President Nicolas Sarkozy brought Darmanin onboard as director of his primary election campaign in 2016.[12]

In response of the Fillon affair, Darmanin renounced his support for LR candidate François Fillon in the 2017 presidential election and resigned from his position as the party’s deputy general secretary.[13]

Minister of Public Action and Accounts, 2017–2020[edit]

In May 2017, Darmanin was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron to be Minister of Public Action and Accounts in the First Philippe government. In this capacity, he supported Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, although himself a cabinet member.[14] At the time of his appointment, he was one of the youngest members in Édouard Philippe's government.[15]

Soon after taking office, Darmanin announced plans to achieve 4.5 billion euros ($5.13 billion) in savings on the French government's operational budget in 2017.[16] That year, he managed to bring the country's the budget deficit below the EU-mandated limit of 3 percent of GDP, the first time in a decade for France.[17] He also helped implement Macron’s main tax reforms and oversaw an overhaul of tax collection.[18]

In 2018 Darmanin was accused of sexual coercion and harassment by two women relating to alleged misconduct in 2009 and between 2014 and 2017, with one of the women alleging that while Mayor of Tourcoing he asked for sexual favours in exchange for providing her with social housing. However prosecutors dropped the case, claiming an inability to determine an "absence of consent", as Darmanin denied both allegations.[19] In June 2020, the Court of Appeal of Paris ordered the reopening of the investigation.[20]

In 2019, Darmanin oversaw an widely discussed agreement between Google and French tax authorities, marking the end of a four-year investigation that looked at whether the company routed profits from its French activities to Ireland, which was a lower-tax jurisdiction at the time. Google eventually agreed to pay almost 1 billion euros to settle all of its litigation with the tax authorities.[21]

In the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in France, Darmanin oversaw the government's efforts to mobilise 150 billion euros to support industries the hardest hit by the crisis as part of a response that pushed debt to record levels.[22][23]

In the 2020 municipal election, Darmanin was reelected as Mayor of Tourcoing but resigned soon thereafter.[24]

Minister of the Interior, 2020–present[edit]

In 2020, Darmanin was appointed Minister of the Interior in the government of Prime Minister Jean Castex, succeeding Christophe Castaner.

Following the murder of Samuel Paty by an Islamic terrorist in October 2020, Darmanin announced a large police sweep against several individuals. He also ordered the closing of the Pantin mosque in the Parisian suburb Seine-Saint-Denis after it re-broadcast a video containing false allegations about Paty.[25][26] Darmanin subsequently ordered the dissolution of other associations with ties to radical Islam[27] and deemed "separatist".[28]

Shortly after, in response to the 2020 Nice stabbing committed by a Tunisian migrant, Darmanin negotiated deportation procedures with Tunisia.[29] In February 2020, Darmanin sponsored a bill that French lawmakers said they hope will uproot radical Islam in France.[30] Darmanin said the aim of the bill is to stop "an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims".[30] In March 2021, Darmanin went to court to prevent the building of a new mosque in Strasbourg, arguing dark money was involved in the project.[31]

In early 2021, Darmanin also oversaw a ban of the Generation Identity group, the youth wing of Bloc Identitaire, arguing that the organisation promoted "an ideology inciting hatred, violence and discrimination on the basis of one's origin, race or religion".[32]

Political positions[edit]

In the past, Darmanin has openly spoken out and voted against same-sex marriage in France[33] and criticized the influence of gender studies in identity politics.[34] He reportedly meets or reads influential voices from the far end of the political spectrum, such as essayists Alain Finkielkraut or Éric Zemmour.[35]

In 2020, Darminan expressed his opposition against mail-in voting to facilitate voting during the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[36]

Controversies[edit]

Two women have filed formal complaints against Darmanin alleging he abused of his authority to coerce them into sexual favours.[37]

Accusation by Sophie Patterson-Spatz[edit]

A first accusation dates back to June 2017. Sophie Patterson-Spatz filed a criminal case against Darmanin accusing him of rape. The case was initially closed for procedural reasons.[38] The investigation has been however reopened in June 2020 and Darmanin was cross-examined by a judge in March 2021. The non-consensual sexual encounter that Darmanin stands accused of would have taken place in March 2009. Patterson-Spatz contacted Darmanin in 2009 asking for his support to revisit a condemnation against her for black bail and phone harassment of her ex-partner.[39] Patterson-Spatz declared that she felt obliged to “slip between the sheets” in exchange for Darmanin’s support in her legal case.[40] Darmanin does not deny having had a sexual encounter with Patterson-Spatz but declared that the encounter did not involve a quid pro quo.[41]

Accusation of abuse of weakness by a second complainant[edit]

In 2018, another woman filed a complaint against Darmanin for abuse of her weakness, an offence under French law designed to protect vulnerable citizens. The victim under the pseudonym Sarah shared a graphic description of her two alleged sexual encounters with Darmanin with the French media Mediapart.[42] Sarah is an inhabitant of Tourcoing were Dramanin served as mayor. In 2016, Sarah would have contacted Darmanin to ask him to help her obtain a social housing placement. She described that in a conversation Darmanin placed her hand on his genitalia in an unsolicited manner.[43] The alleged victim declared in respect of her sexual encounter with Darmanin that she “felt obliged to do it in order to get housing and a job.” Letters sent by Darmanin to public authorities responsible for social housing attribution in France, in which Darmanin is asking for a placement for the alleged victim attest that Darmanin did intervene in her favour.[44] The investigation was closed in May 2018 on the grounds that the complainant failed to evidence her lack of consent in her sexual encounters with Darmanin.[45] External observers have pointed to unsettling similarities between the two sexual coercion cases.[46]

Protests by women rights activists[edit]

Following Darmanin's appointment as Minister of the Interior in July 2020, hundreds of women protested in central Paris, demanding his immediate resignation due to his current involvement in a rape lawsuit.[47] The women considered he was ill-fit for overseeing the police since he had admitted, in court proceedings, to have requested sexual favors from a woman in exchange for his support on her judicial case.[48][49]

In response to a spate of incidents that erupted throughout the summer of 2020, including an armed clash involving Chechen groups and violence during the Bastille Day celebrations, Darmanin told newspaper Le Figaro that "it is necessary to stop the wilding (ensauvagement) of a certain part of society". His use of vocabulary previously used mostly by far-right groups met with criticism, including from members of his own party. In Parliament, fellow LREM lawmaker Sacha Houlié told Darmanin that "there are no savages in France, there are only citizens".[50]

Polemical comments on religious separatism[edit]

In October 2020, Darmanin faced criticism for an interview with BFM TV, in which he expressed shock at dedicated aisles in supermarkets for halal and kosher food. He said he had "always been shocked to walk into a supermarket and see that there was an aisle of such [religious] community food", implying that the separate sale of these products can contribute to the isolation of minority communities.[51]

In May 2021, when confronted at the National Assembly about the strict security policy his administration had put in place in reaction to an alleged increase in crime rates that was disproven by the National Institute of Statistic and Economic Studies, he said that while he liked to read reports and statistics, he would rather listen to the guts and feelings of his butcher in Tourcoing.[52]

Human Rights violations[edit]

On May,13, 2021, Darmanin ordered the police prefecture to ban a pro-palestinian rally in Paris, in support to Palestine over the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis of May 2021. [53] He explained his decision in a tweet posted on May,13, 2021 "In Paris, I asked the Prefect of Police to ban the demonstrations on Saturday in connection with the recent tensions in the Middle East. Serious disturbances to public order were noted in 2014. Instructions were given to the Prefects to be particularly vigilant and firm".[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anne Courtel (17 May 2017). "Gouvernement – Gérald Darmanin, progresse toujours et transgresse encore". lavoixdunord.fr (in French). La Voix du Nord. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Gérald Darmanin, un espoir de la droite à Bercy". Libération. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  3. ^ Elisa Braun (December 22, 2020), Gérald Darmanin, Macron’s risky gamble Politico Europe.
  4. ^ Nicholas Vinocur (2 August 2017), Gérald Darmanin, France’s new (and improved) Sarkozy Politico Europe.
  5. ^ "Ouakid Moussa, adjudant-chef, classe 1927 M, recrutement d'Alger, mie R. M. 2311; 28 ans de services, 5 campagnes, Journal officiel de la République française, 1958, p.4346".
  6. ^ Dossiers administratifs de résistantes et résistants, Musée de la résistance en ligne, Dossier GR 16 P 452368
  7. ^ Nicholas Vinocur (August 2, 2017), Gérald Darmanin, France’s new (and improved) Sarkozy Politico Europe.
  8. ^ Elisa Braun (December 22, 2020), Gérald Darmanin, Macron’s risky gamble Politico Europe.
  9. ^ Nicholas Vinocur (August 2, 2017), Gérald Darmanin, France’s new (and improved) Sarkozy Politico Europe.
  10. ^ Elisa Braun (December 22, 2020), Gérald Darmanin, Macron’s risky gamble Politico Europe.
  11. ^ Nicholas Vinocur (2 August 2017), Gérald Darmanin, France’s new (and improved) Sarkozy Politico Europe.
  12. ^ Nicholas Vinocur (2 August 2017), Gérald Darmanin, France’s new (and improved) Sarkozy Politico Europe.
  13. ^ Simeon Kerr and David Keohane (October 25, 2020), France recalls ambassador from Turkey as Gulf boycotts products Financial Times.
  14. ^ Factbox: Ministers in new French government Reuters, 17 May 2017.
  15. ^ Michel Rose (16 October 2018), Factbox: France's Emmanuel Macron reshuffles government – only one big move Reuters.
  16. ^ Ingrid Melander (11 July 2017), French state to make 4.5 billion euros in savings this year: paper Reuters.
  17. ^ Michel Rose (16 October 2018), Factbox: France's Emmanuel Macron reshuffles government – only one big move Reuters.
  18. ^ Toby Chopra (6 July 2020), Factbox: Who are the key ministers in Macron's new government Reuters.
  19. ^ BBC (16 February 2018), Factbox: France: Rape inquiry into Gérald Darmanin dropped BBC.com.
  20. ^ Matthieu Protard (June 11, 2020), French court orders reopening of investigation into rape allegation against minister - source Reuters.
  21. ^ Harriet Agnew (September 12, 2019), Google agrees to €1bn settlement with French tax authorities Financial Times.
  22. ^ Leigh Thomas (14 April 2020), Exclusive: France to hike crisis response by 10 billion euros to 110 billion - sources Reuters.
  23. ^ Leigh Thomas (4 June 2020), France budgets 40 billion euros for crisis-hit industries Reuters.
  24. ^ Michel Rose and John Irish (15 March 12020), Socialist Paris Mayor beats Macron's candidate in election 1st round Reuters.
  25. ^ Victor Mallet (19 October 2020), Islamist killing prompts French crackdown on militants Financial Times.
  26. ^ Merlin Sugue (20 October 2020), French minister requests closure of mosque that denounced murdered teacher Politico Europe.
  27. ^ Rym Momtaz (21 October 2020), Macron steps up fight against radical Islam (and his critics) Politico Europe.
  28. ^ Simeon Kerr and David Keohane (25 October 2020), France recalls ambassador from Turkey as Gulf boycotts products Financial Times.
  29. ^ Tarek Amara (6 November 2020), Tunisia will accept deportees from France if judicial rights are guaranteed Reuters.
  30. ^ a b Ganley, Elaine (1 February 2021). "Lawmakers debate bill to rout out radical Islam in France". Seattle Times.
  31. ^ "Nouvelle mosquée à Strasbourg : Darmanin saisit la justice" (in French), Le Point, 23 March 2021.
  32. ^ Jules Darmanin (3 March 2021), France bans far-right group Generation Identity Politico Europe.
  33. ^ Gérald Darmanin rattrapé par ses anciens tweets contre le mariage homosexuel Le Parisien, May 18, 2017.
  34. ^ Elisa Braun (December 22, 2020), Gérald Darmanin, Macron’s risky gamble Politico Europe.
  35. ^ Elisa Braun (December 22, 2020), Gérald Darmanin, Macron’s risky gamble Politico Europe.
  36. ^ Pierre-Paul Bermingham (November 16, 2020), France split over ‘American’ mail-in ballots for 2021 regional elections Politico Europe.
  37. ^ Turchi, Marine; Rouget, Antton (26 February 2018). "Affaire Darmanin: la deuxième plaignante livre son récit" [Affaire Darmanin: the second complainant tells her story]. Mediapart (in French). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  38. ^ Giltay, Frederik (13 March 2021). "Accusations de viol contre Gérald Darmanin : où en est l'enquête ?" [Rape accusations against Darmanin: where does the investigation stand?]. France 3 (in French). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  39. ^ "Accusations de viol : Darmanin confronté pendant neuf heures à la plaignante" [Rape accusations : Darmanin facing the complainant for nine hours straight]. Europe 1 (in French). 13 March 2021. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  40. ^ "Visé par une accusation de viol, Gérald Darmanin entendu sous le statut de témoin assisté" [Accused of rape, Darmanin will be heard by the court as cross-examination witness]. Le Monde (in French). 14 December 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  41. ^ "Visé par une accusation de viol, Gérald Darmanin entendu sous le statut de témoin assisté" [Accused of rape, Darmanin will be heard by the court as cross-examination witness]. Le Monde (in French). 14 December 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  42. ^ "Affaire Darmanin: la seconde plaignante s'est "sentie obligée" d'avoir un rapport sexuel" [Affaire Darmanin: a second complainant “felt obliged” to have a sexual relation with Darmanin]. Le Figaro (in French). 25 February 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Affaire Darmanin: la seconde plaignante s'est "sentie obligée" d'avoir un rapport sexuel" [Affaire Darmanin: a second complainant “felt obliged” to have a sexual relation with Darmanin]. Le Figaro (in French). 25 February 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  44. ^ Turchi, Marine; Rouget, Antton (26 February 2018). "Affaire Darmanin: la deuxième plaignante livre son récit" [Affaire Darmanin: the second complainant tells her story]. Mediapart (in French). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  45. ^ "L'enquête pour « abus de faiblesse » visant Gérald Darmanin classée sans suite" [The investigation into "abuse of weakness" against Gérald Darmanin was closed]. Le Monde (in French). 16 May 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  46. ^ Turchi, Marine; Rouget, Antton (28 January 2021). "Affaire Darmanin: deux dossiers aux nombreuses similitudes" [Affaire Darmanin: two files with many similarities]. Mediapart (in French). Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  47. ^ Benoit Tessier (10 July 2020), Hundreds of French women protest against new interior minister Reuters.
  48. ^ "Plainte contre Darmanin : ses avocats ne nient pas les faits… mais n'y voient pas un viol". 30 January 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2020..
  49. ^ "Les avocats de Gérald Darmanin ne nient pas les faits qui lui sont reprochés, mais n'y voient pas un viol". Les Inrockuptibles (in French). 1 February 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  50. ^ Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut (4 September 2020), A Coded Word From the Far Right Roils France’s Political Mainstream The New York Times.
  51. ^ Louise Guillot (21 October 2020), French minister’s complaint on religious food aisles sparks criticism Politico Europe.
  52. ^ https://www.bfmtv.com/politique/gouvernement/delinquance-darmanin-prefere-le-bon-sens-du-boucher-charcutier-de-tourcoing-aux-etudes-de-l-insee_AN-202105190242.html
  53. ^ "Pro-Palestinian rally in Paris banned amid rising Israel-Gaza tensions". France 24. 13 May 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  54. ^ "Original tweet from Darmanin". Twitter. Retrieved 6 July 2021.