Today, she is accused of having received 900,000 euros from the former boss of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, for whom she carried out secret consulting work to develop the company’s global activities, and is accused of ” passive corruption by a person with an elected public office while working in an organization ”and“ personally profiting from the abuse of power ”. All of this may have the effect of putting an end to her hopes of becoming the first woman and the first Muslim president of the Republic.
From the aspiring president of France to the defendant in a fraud case that could end with 15 years in prison, it’s a terribly long distance. But for Rachida Dati, it is only a downward turn in the wheel of Fortune, after an upward turn that led her from a large Maghrebian family in Burgundy to a stellar post as that Minister of Justice of Nicolas Sarkozy, the most glamorous figure in French politics, MEP, candidate for mayor of Paris and last year, declared presidential candidate.
Yet she never let criticism deflect her ambition; when, at the height of her fame in 2009, she became pregnant, she refused to name the father (feverish speculation about his identity included senior French politicians; in fact, he was a casino mogul) and, before universal stigma, returned to work three days after the birth of her daughter.
Rachida Dati combines poise and striking allure with a useful backstory. His father was a Moroccan mason; she comes from a family of 11 living in a small low-cost housing. She got out of it when her father worked for a private Catholic school; she was educated by nuns from the age of five, which gave her a different perspective from that of most young Muslims. She went to college (paid for by nursing work), one of the few women in her neighborhood to do so, went to work in Paris – and at that point, her background called for her. To avoid sarcastic comments from neighbors, she married a man her family knew in Algeria. It was a disaster; she later had the marriage annulled.
It was probably the only time she let her past stand in her way. After graduating, she contacted members of the institution and asked to meet with them; at a party at the Algerian embassy to which she managed to secure an invitation, she pinned down the justice minister – he duly found her high-profile employment and contacts. She finally became Nicolas Sarkozy’s advisor – here her career was a positive asset – and later her Minister of Justice. In the Macron era, her star declined, but she strongly opposed the socialist Anne Hidalgo in the 100% female race for mayor of Paris, with the support of her former mentor, Sarkozy.
Now this formidable upward mobility has come to a standstill. But maybe not for good. There aren’t many politicians like her – Muslims and fiercely integrationists, working class and fiercely rising. She is like someone from Balzac; not, perhaps, quite a virtuous character, but quite fascinating.