A Comparative Analysis of Recent French State Affairs: The Benalla Scandal

July 17, 2023
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Table of contents

  1. Comparing the Benalla Scandal with Past French State Affairs
  2. Conclusion
  3. References

In recent days, France has been embroiled in a scandal involving Alexandre Benalla, President Macron's security aide and deputy chief of staff. The scandal erupted after Le Monde published a video on July 18th, showing Benalla posing as a member of the French riot police and assaulting two protesters during the May 1st Labour Day rally in Paris. The ensuing controversy and media portrayal have led to accusations of a state affair, prompting multiple investigations to uncover the truth behind the incident.

This essay seeks to compare the Benalla scandal with past French state affairs involving prominent figures such as De Gaulle, Mitterrand, Chirac, and Sarkozy. By examining the nature and consequences of each affair, we aim to understand the extent to which the Benalla scandal differs from historical state affairs, as well as its potential implications for the Macron presidency.

Comparing the Benalla Scandal with Past French State Affairs

  1. De Gaulle and the Civic Action Service (SAC)

During De Gaulle's time in power, the Civic Action Service (SAC) was established to ensure his security and that of his party, the UNR, during a tense and turbulent period marked by terrorist threats from the Secret Army Organization (OAS) during the Algerian War. The SAC evolved into a parallel police force with questionable methods and connections, which ultimately led to its dissolution in 1982 under President François Mitterrand's tenure.

Unlike the SAC, the Benalla scandal does not involve a parallel police force with political motives. While Benalla's actions were reprehensible, there is no evidence suggesting that President Macron ordered the assault or was directly involved in such activities.

  1. Mitterrand's Wiretapping Scandal

Under François Mitterrand's presidency, a cell was created at the Elysée to fight terrorism, but it also acted as a private police force targeting journalists, political rivals, and individuals deemed problematic. Wiretapping, surveillance, and involvement in controversial arrests tainted Mitterrand's presidency and led to revelations of direct presidential involvement.

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In contrast, the Benalla scandal centers on the Elysée's handling of the incident after it occurred, rather than evidence of a systematic surveillance operation orchestrated by President Macron. The involvement of the president himself in such activities is not apparent in the case of Benalla.

  1. Chirac's Party Financing Fraud

Jacques Chirac, during his mayoral tenure in Paris, engaged in illegal political party financing, using city funds to reward supporters and pay non-existent jobs. The fraudulent scheme led to persistent rumors of wrongdoing, but Chirac was immune from prosecution as President until after his tenure.

The Benalla scandal is not directly comparable to Chirac's party financing fraud. While both cases involve alleged professional misconduct, Benalla's actions did not involve embezzlement or financial fraud.

  1. Sarkozy and Gaddafi

Nicolas Sarkozy faced accusations of receiving cash from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to finance his 2007 presidential campaign. The scandal also involved wiretapping journalists and political rivals for personal and political gain.

The Benalla scandal lacks the element of political financing and illegal wiretapping. It revolves around an individual aide's assault on protesters and the subsequent handling of the incident by the Elysée Palace.


In conclusion, while the Benalla scandal has stirred controversy and accusations of a state affair, a comparative analysis of past French state affairs reveals distinct differences. Unlike historical state affairs involving prominent figures, the Benalla scandal primarily centers on a single individual's actions and the Elysée Palace's response to the incident, rather than evidence of systemic and politically motivated misconduct.

As the investigations unfold, it will become clearer whether there are any deeper implications for the Macron presidency. Nonetheless, it is crucial to approach this matter with measured scrutiny and avoid comparing it directly with past state affairs involving more significant political consequences.


  1. "Benalla Scandal: The Man Who Shook the French Government." BBC News, July 27, 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44949603.
  2. "France's Benalla Scandal Explained." Euronews, July 26, 2018. https://www.euronews.com/2018/07/26/france-s-benalla-scandal-explained.
  3. "France’s Benalla Affair: How a Single Scandal Sparked a Crisis for Macron." The Guardian, July 27, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/27/france-benalla-affair-macron-crisis.
  4. "Civic Action Service (SAC): The Mysterious Shadow Organization of De Gaulle's Era." Conspiracy Archive, accessed July 15, 2023. http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/2015/04/11/civic-action-service-sac-the-mysterious-shadow-organization-of-de-gaulles-era/.
  5. "Wiretapping Scandal During Mitterrand's Presidency." Le Monde, September 12, 1993. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1993/09/12/l-enigme-du-nid-d-espions-de-l-elysee_3901613_1819218.html.
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