8

On several occasions there were serious discussions if a person is politically eligible if he/she has been finally convicted (final decision). The typical example is the current (2017) Romanian President of Chamber of Deputies, Liviu DRAGNEA.

Dragnea was convicted of electoral fraud in 2015:

A senior Romanian minister was convicted on Friday of electoral fraud over a 2012 attempt to impeach a president and political rival, a judgment that dealt a blow to Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s efforts to demonstrate to the EU a hard line on graft.

Its case was brought to public attention once more, when a Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate investigation linked him to EU funds fraud:

The Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has accused Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSD), of fraud with European Union (EU) funds, of creating an organised criminal group, and of misusing his position for personal gain. Eight more persons have been placed under criminal prosecution on similar charges.

The contribution of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to this outcome has been emphasised by the DNA.

Dragnea is an elected deputy since the end of 2016 and also President of Chamber of Deputies ("the third person in the country").

Some argue [citation needed] that this case (having a high official already convicted) is unique (in a bad way) in EU and that he should resign. Even the President commented upon this case.

I am interested in the so called uniqueness of the case within European Union.

Question: Were/are there any high officials (heads of parliament chambers, prime ministers or president of the state) that have been elected/appointed after being convicted? (EU countries only)

  • Convicted specifically of electoral fraud, or of crime in general? – origimbo Nov 28 '17 at 20:39
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    @origimbo - any crime in general, otherwise I feel it is highly unlikely to find a case. – Alexei Nov 28 '17 at 20:47
  • Plenty of people elected in Northern Ireland with criminal records from activities during the Troubles. But they didn't achieve "high office" – James K Nov 29 '17 at 6:56
  • Another thing that's unusual in your example is the nature of the charge, I cannot recall any recent high-profile electoral fraud scandal (with or without conviction) in Western Europe. Outside of municipal politics and maybe the odd colourful MP, what important political figures are typically involved in are funding scandals, misuse of public funds or rigging public procurement, not directly manipulating the electoral process. – Relaxed Nov 29 '17 at 8:52
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    I can think of several politicians who were forced to resign following serious allegations and then resumed their careers a few years later but all the examples I have in mind in France or Germany are people who were MP or at most minister (not head of state or government) and weren't actually convicted for what they did. Resigning and waiting for the scandal to pass while making sure someone else takes the fall is now standard operating procedure, holding to office while investigations are ongoing or being convicted is uncommon. – Relaxed Nov 29 '17 at 8:54
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Since you ask for specific examples, being French, I will pull the Alain Juppé card.

In 2004, Alain Juppé was tried for the felony of abuse of public funds, when he was head of the RPR and the RPR illegally used personnel provided by the City of Paris for running its operations. He was convicted and sentenced to an 18-month suspended jail sentence, the deprivation of civic rights for five years, and the deprivation of the right to run for political office for 10 years. He appealed the decision, whereupon his disqualification from holding elected office was reduced to one year and the suspended sentence cut to 14 months. He announced he would not appeal the ruling before the Court of Cassation. (See Corruption scandals in the Paris region) As a consequence, Alain Juppé resigned his mayoralty of Bordeaux and his position of head of the Bordeaux urban community.

After staying low for a bit, he made a nice come-back:

In 2010, after the disappointed result of the regional elections of the ruling UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy called Alain Juppé to come back in government. Juppé refused the ministries of Justice and Interior, but could not be appointed as Prime minister, a position he has already held in the past. He accepted to be minister of Defense.

And he even ran for president. No problem, mm'kay, no problem at all, nothing to see here...

;)

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    (-1) Still does not meet the requirements, he wasn't head of state or government after the conviction, did not even really run for president in the usual French sense. And the last sentence is really unnecessary, if you have a (valid) point to make, make it, rather than using innuendo. – Relaxed Dec 1 '17 at 9:51
5

Europe is full of this kind of "specialists".

While not that high ranking an official this one is so outrageous that he has to be included in such a list: Otto Wiesheu from Bavaria.

In 1983 while being general secretary of his party he drove under the influence of alcohol, caused an accident and killed one person and injured heavily another one.

He was found guilty and sentenced to 13 months in prison, appealed, got 12 months on probation.

On October 29, 1983 he was driving his Mercedes 380 while drunk (1.75 promille) and killed Polish citizen Josef Rubinfeld in his Fiat and severely injured another man. Otto Wiesheu was given 12 months' probation.

In 1990 he became memeber of the Bavarian government and in 1993 he very fittingly became Minister of Transportation.


Matthias Wissman was convicted in 1989 for illegal financing and became Minister in Kohl's administration in 1993.


The question as phrased is rather unlucky in demanding a full conviction. Often those really in power do not get prosecuted.

As long as they are not really in power, convictions on various levels are collected like trophies, as is the case with Austrian FPÖ: 51 examples including Heinz-Christian Strache.

And when they were in power, Helmut Kohl and Silvio Berlusconi are most famous for breaking the law, repeatedly. While Kohl famously got away with it (e.g. Flick affair: "I must have had a blackout") despite clearly violating the law and the constitution; Berlusconi seems to be forced into grabbing power (going into politics) primarily to prevent his prosecution.

Given Berlusconi's track record demanded a whole separate Wikipedia page called Trials and allegations involving Silvio Berlusconi that idea seemed good at the time and the Italians knew about this before electing him, and some said that the y elected him because of this.

  • I wish I could vote more than once. Based on Wikipedia reference for Berlusconi, high-office specialists from my country have a lot to learn from Silvio Berlusconi :). – Alexei Dec 1 '17 at 8:08

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