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Ministers quit scandal-hit French government

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Ministers quit scandal-hit French government


Two junior ministers have resigned from an increasingly embattled French government.

Separate spending scandals prompted the twin departures of Alain Joyandet, state secretary for overseas development, and Christian Blanc, state secretary for the Greater Paris region.

Forking out thousands of euros on a private jet and cigars when the public are being asked to tighten their belts caused outrage, including within the government.

“They have been criticised for misusing public funds, for casually using public funds which, particularly in a period of economic crisis, is unacceptable and viewed badly,” said junior minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

For opposition Socialist MP Pierre Moscovici the resignations show the government is “worn out” and eaten away by a whole series of scandals, meaning it has lost the trust of the people.

The politician weathering the biggest storm remains in his job. Labour Minister Eric Woerth is facing scrutiny over ties linking him and his wife to France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt. The 87-year-old l’Oreal heiress is facing claims she plotted to dodge taxes on her fortune.

It has been suggested that President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded the two junior ministers fall on their swords to ease pressure on Woerth.

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