Macron allies resign from cabinet amid funding scandal

Henrietta Brewer
June 22, 2017

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front who lost to Macron in last month's presidential vote, suggested ahead of the ministerial announcements that Bayrou had been discarded because he had served his objective.

Other leading government members remained the same, including the foreign, finance and interior ministers.

The macro-economic straitjacket was all too familiar to Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande, whose attempts to comply helped make the Socialist leader one of the most unpopular French presidents in the postwar era.

After Bayrou's announcement, Laurent Wauquiez, of the mainstream-right Republicans, called the resignations a "political scandal" and a "major crisis" coming less than a month after Macron took over as president. The next day, Goulard's resignation was followed by an announcement that the leader of MoDem-François Bayrou-would also leave the government.

The French press reports that two more French government ministers, including the minister of justice, are targeted in possible probes and have resigned, following on the heels of the defense minister.

François Bayrou, French justice minister and key ally of Emmanuel Macron, has resigned from his position as his MoDem party face allegations of corruption.

According to French media, five Modem MEPs, including Goulard and De Sarnez, had some 15 assistants paid by the European Union parliament for party jobs.

The presidential election saw Macron's conservative rival Francois Fillon engulfed in a separate scandal over accusations that he paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros as his parliamentary assistants with little evidence that they did any such work.

Newly-elected president Macron has indicated that he will be reshuffling his cabinet in the coming days, with all three members from the MoDem party now having left the government. A government spokesman said Mr Bayrou's decision was a "personal choice" that "simplifies the situation" given questions around the funding inquiry.

The defence and European affairs ministers are from Mr Bayrou's small centrist Modem party, which is allied with Mr Macron's Republic on the Move party.

Another member of Mr. Macron's cabinet, Richard Ferrand, who was minister for territorial cohesion, on Monday.

Ferrand is under investigation for alleged conflict of interest related to his past business practices.

He denies doing anything illegal, but acknowledges some old habits are no longer accepted by the public.

"We have a majority after Sunday's big win (in the parliamentary election) and we have the wherewithall to govern". French media have reported that the emergency removal of certain civil liberties may be made permanent.

Marielle de Sarnez, the European affairs minister, is also from Modem.

On the eve of his first European summit (22-23 June), French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his belief in a Europe capable of transforming the world with France as a driving force.

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