Le crépuscule de l’aristocratie républicaine française

Ce n’est pas encore une révolution mais cela y ressemble. Ont récemment eu lieu le procès de l’ancien Premier ministre Dominique de Villepin et la condamnation de Charles Pasqua, ancien ministre de l’Intérieur. Jacques Chirac vient d’apprendre qu’il est renvoyé en correctionnelle. La « Monarchie républicaine française », pour reprendre l’expression de  Jean-François Revel, est-elle sur le point d’être renversée ?A dire vrai, la Révolution française n'avait guère aboli les privilèges de l'élite au pouvoir en France. Certes, des têtes sont tombées, mais la noblesse est revenue. Lorsque la monarchie a fait place à la République en 1875, les urnes ont remplacé la naissance. Mais la nouvelle élite au pouvoir s’est appropriée bien des droits et avantages de l’ancienne aristocratie.

La vraie « Monarchie républicaine », qui décrit les moeurs des présidents français et de leur entourage, ne s’est vraiment imposée qu'à partir de la Cinquième République. Une fois élu, le Président français et sa cour ont accès à des privilèges financiers peu contrôlés. Ils évoluent dans le secret : la manière dont ils utilisent les avions officiels, les fonctionnaires qu’ils embauchent à leur service, sans parler de leurs moeurs, ont toujours été relevé plus ou moins du domaine privé. Les journalistes ont évité tout commentaire. Quant au public, soit il ignorait les excès soit il estimait que l'élite au pouvoir par définition échappait aux règles du commun.

Cette République aristocratique a connu son apogée sous François Mitterrand. L’opinion n’était pas au courant qu’un jet affrété par le gouvernement le conduisait en Egypte pour passer des week-ends avec sa maîtresse et sa fille illégitime. Seuls les journalistes haut placés savaient, et n'y ont jamais fait allusion. Chirac, qui a succédé à Mitterrand en tant que président, fut un peu plus prudent.

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