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France politics

Buzyn's tears raise doubts over Paris City Hall race

Former French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn poses for pictures as she arrives at the Mon Paris cafe in Paris on February 16, 2020, after she had been chosen by the LREM party to run for mayor of Paris on March 2020, replacing Benjamin Griveaux.
Former French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn poses for pictures as she arrives at the Mon Paris cafe in Paris on February 16, 2020, after she had been chosen by the LREM party to run for mayor of Paris on March 2020, replacing Benjamin Griveaux. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
2 min

The newly-designated LREM candidate for Mayor of Paris, Agnès Buzyn, sobbed throughout her speech as she handed over the job of Health and Solidarity Minister to her successor Olivier Véran.

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She described her departure as “wrenching”, as she thanked her staff for their hard work “day and night”.

Buzyn stated that she cared deeply about the future of Paris and that she would deliver on her commitment but her emotional farewell to the Health Ministry has already led to comments that her heart is not in the campaign to win the Paris City Hall.

She said herself on Friday that she could not leave the health ministry as she was handling so many important issues and it’s clear that she succumbed to pressure in announcing on Sunday that she would stand for Mayor of Paris.

The race will be tough. The two frontrunners, incumbent Anne Hidalgo and Nicolas Sarkozy’s former justice minister Rachida Dati are both formidable campaigners.

Former LREM candidate Benjamin Griveaux withdrew from the contest on Friday morning after a leaked sex video

Government criticised

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is now under fire for changing the health minister in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Far left Trade Union leader Pierre Martinez and Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure both took to the airwaves suggesting that winning Paris City Hall for Macron’s LREM party is being prioritized over the needs of the country.

The government rejects such criticism, pointing out that the new minister Olivier Véran is a neurologist with considerable experience in various roles in the health sector.

As well as the COVID-19 crisis, Véran faces continuing protests by medics and health workers over pay and conditions, a factor cited as the reason for numerous resignations among hospital staff over the last year.

Véran was a former Socialist Party MP before joining LREM, and is seen to be on the left of Macron’s party.

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