Hollande rules out reshuffle as scandals rock French government
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French President François Hollande says he will not reshuffle his cabinet, as the opposition is demanding in the wake of the scandal over disgraced former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac’s Swiss bank account.
The Cahuzac affair was a result of “individual” wrongdoing, Hollande said Thursday during an official visit to Morocco, and the government is not “called into question”.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has also dismissed the reshuffle call and on Friday Labour Minister Michel Sapin repeated the message on France 2 television, describing Hollande’s conduct as “exemplary”.
Hollande also tried to play down revelations that his election campaign treasurer, Jean-Jacques Augier, had been involved in setting up two companies in the Cayman Islands tax haven.
“What matters to me is that the campaign accounts were validated and certified,” he said. “After that, it’s up to the tax authorities, if necessary, to do their job on private activities.”
The right-wing opposition has called for a reshuffle with UMP MP Henri Guaino declaring the succeeding scandal “ the death of the moral left”.
On the government’s left, former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon slammed Hollande’s refusal to reshuffle as a “totally erroneous diagnosis, that of a man overtakan by the situation”.
Declaring that the scandals show a “system revealing its intrinsic corruption”, Mélenchon has called a demonstration on 5 May to demand a Sixth Republic, one of the demands of his election campaign that would mean drafting of a new constitution, and appealed to disaffected Socialist activists to join his camp.
There was not let-up in Cahuzac's woes Friday:
- The Grand Orient Freemasons' lodge started procedures to expel him;
- The president of France's medical association, Michel Legmann, told a medical journal that it will throw him out if it is revealed that the money in his controversial account was dishonestly come by.
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