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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs