France’s interior minister has resigned over payments of public funds to his daughters.
Bruno Le Roux denies he has done anything wrong but says he does not want the scandal to affect the government’s work.
He became interior minister in early December in a government reshuffle.
“Ma responsabilité est de préserver l'action gouvernementale (…) j'ai adressé ma démission”, Bruno Le Roux pic.twitter.com/DVNMt8O9FF— franceinfo (@franceinfo) 21 mars 2017
“It is my responsibility not to affect the government’s work,” Le Roux told reporters.
Why has he resigned?
Financial prosecutors have opened an inquiry following press reports he paid his two daughters from public funds for parliamentary work when he was still a lawmaker.
At the time, they were students.
“Those work contracts correspond to work that was effectively carried out,” Le Roux said in a bid to distance himself from the ongoing inquiry involving the centre-right’s presidential candidate, Francois Fillon.
Les deux filles de Bruno Le Roux ont cumulé chacune 14 et 10 CDD d’assistantes parlementaires (dont l’une à 15 ans). https://t.co/zerEyE4TRY— Ellen Salvi (@ellensalvi) 20 mars 2017
Bruno Le Roux’s daughters totted up 24 short-term contracts between them, one from the age of 15 – is the claim from the French investigate website Mediapart.
*But it is not illegal for politicians to employ relatives in France*
No. Members of the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament, are allowed to hire family as assistants and pay them from funds put at the disposal of all lawmakers.
The question is whether any work was actually carried out.
Fallout from Fillon?
The employment of family members by politicians has become a hot-button issue in France after Fillon became embroiled in a similar scandal over the employment of his wife and two of his children as parliamentary assistants.
The scandal, dubbed “Penelope-gate” after the first name of his Welsh-born wife, has sent Fillon’s public ratings tumble. He was once front-runner in the race.
He is accused of paying his wife an estimated 800,000 euros for work she did not do.
He maintains he has done nothing illegal.
Has anyone replaced Le Roux yet?
Yes. The Elysee presidential office said the junior foreign trade minister, Matthias Fekl, would replace Le Roux.
There has been no word on who will replace Fekl.
How did the allegations come out?
A TV show, “The Quotidien”, said Le Roux paid:
- a total of 55,000 euros
- between 2009 and 2016
- to his two daughters, starting when they were 15 and 16
🔴 INFO QUOTIDIEN
Les 24 contrats des filles de Bruno Le Roux à l'Assemblée.
valentineoberti</a> <a href="https://t.co/BEuBTaZECU">pic.twitter.com/BEuBTaZECU</a></p>— Quotidien (Qofficiel) 20 mars 2017
Why was an inquiry launched?
Because allies of Fillon suggested that inaction by the judiciary in Le Roux’s case would show that Fillon was the victim of bias.
The inquiry was launched after allies of Fillon suggested that any inaction by the judiciary in Le Roux’s case would show that Fillon, who says he did nothing illegal, was the victim of bias by the judiciary.