News

    French Prime Minister Under Fire

    Lisa Bryant

    A campaign to blacken the reputation of France's Interior Minister has gotten his chief rival, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, into hot water. Mr. de Villepin denies any involvement in the scandal, even as calls are growing for his resignation.

    At a press conference Thursday, Prime Minister de Villepin denied yet again he had anything to do with a dirty tricks campaign targeting Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

    Mr. de Villepin said he had never ordered a corruption inquiry against Sarkozy. Sarkozy's name came up in discussions, the prime minister said, only in his current position as interior minister.

    The inquiry is tied to a years-long, tangled scandal known in France simply as the Clearstream affair. Clearstream is the name of a financial clearinghouse based in Luxembourg, where kickbacks were alleged to have been channeled to Sarkozy and several other French politicians. A French investigative judge found those allegations were not true. But it remains a mystery just who authored the smear campaign against Sarkozy.

    Last week, France's leading Le Monde newspaper reported on sworn testimony from a retired intelligence officer, who asserted that Mr. de Villepin ordered him to investigate corruption allegations against Sarkozy. The prime minister denies this. The officer in question subsequently said he was scandalized by Le Monde's report. But on Wednesday, the newspaper printed what appears to be the full transcript of the officer's testimony.

    The scandal has prompted calls by the opposition Socialist Party for de Villepin to resign.

    In remarks broadcast on French radio Thursday, Socialist Party spokesman, Julien Dray, called the Clearstream affair a scandal. Not only should the prime minister resign, he said, but so should his entire center-right government.

    The affair has dealt a further blow to Mr. de Villepin, already weakened by recent demonstrations against an unpopular jobs law that sent hundreds of thousands of French to the streets. He was ultimately forced to repeal the legislation.

    A new poll, to be published Friday in Le Figaro magazine, places Mr. de Villepin's approval rating at only 24 percent. But a separate survey published Thursday in Le Parisien newspaper, finds that 46 percent of French don't want Villepin to resign over Clearstream - compared to 33 percent who do.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora