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2 Macron allies resign from cabinet amid funding scandal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Jun 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Paris, June 21: Two more ministers in French President Emmanuel Macron’s recently-assembled cabinet on Wednesday handed in their resigtion amid an ongoing probe into alleged misuse of European Parliament funds in their centrist party. Justice Minister François Bayrou and Minister for European Affairs Marielle de Sarnez were the latest Democratic Movement (MoDem) cabinet members to quit, following the departure of Defence Minister Sylvie Goulard on Tuesday, Efe news reported.

Speaking to Europe 1 radio, government spokesman Christophe Castaner said Bayrou’s decision was a “persol choice” and suggested it simplified the situation for President Macron. Bayrou is expected to make a statement later and Sarnez is set to move to preside over MoDem’s lower parliamentary group, where its 42 lawmakers back Macron’s La République En Marche! (LREM), which has an outright majority.

All MoDem members that were origilly appointed to the cabinet by Macron after his ascension to the élysée Palace have since resigned. There was speculation as to whether the party would secure any ministerial positions after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveils his new government later on Wednesday. A close ally of Macron, Richard Ferrand, who was until Monday Minister of Territorial Cohesion, also left the cabinet but retained his role as LREM Secretary-General amid a prelimiry probe into accusations of nepotism.

This slew of resigtions came as a blow to Macron, who ran a campaign promising to shake up old, corrupt politics. Prosecutors opened up the prelimiry investigation into claims that MoDem had allocated EP money to pay for fictitious parliamentary assistants — similar claims have hit the far-right tiol Front (FN).

Sarnez has been an intermittent member of the European Parliament since 1999, while Goulard has held a position there since 2009. (IANS)

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