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Macron allies quit French government

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS
Macron allies quit French government

<p>It is an embarrassing blow for a new French government pledging to battle political sleaze.</p> <p>Justice Minister Francois Bayrou, who is spearheading the drive, quit because of scandal on Wednesday.</p> <p>He and other centrist allies of President Emmanuel Macron, from the MoDem party, have stepped down amid a judicial investigation into claims it misused EU parliamentary funds.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Key Macron ally Bayrou says he is quitting French government <a href="https://t.co/xfKaMa1L3a">https://t.co/xfKaMa1L3a</a> <a href="https://t.co/D1AonvnKAB">pic.twitter.com/D1AonvnKAB</a></p>— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheLocalFrance/status/877422617438830592">21 juin 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><br /> </p> <p>While those concerned deny wrongdoing, the departures, including European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez, cast a shadow over Wednesday’s cabinet reshuffle by the government dominated by Macron’s new Republic On the Move (<span class="caps">LREM</span>) party.</p> <p>Conservative rivals The Republicans had on Tuesday called for Bayrou and de Sarnez to quit over the investigation into MoDem.</p> <p>On Monday, the government announced that Richard Ferrand, a minister for territorial planning and key member of <span class="caps">LREM</span> was leaving to chair the party’s group in parliament. He is the target of a separate judicial probe.</p> <p>Being a target of a preliminary investigation in France is not an indication of guilt. Prosecutors can decide to either drop the probe or proceed to a full-fledged investigation</p> <p>Macron, elected on an independent centrist ticket on May 7, had crafted a first government that comprised ministers of the left, right and centre, reshaping France’s political landscape as he extended his support base.</p> <p>In parliamentary elections on Sunday, his <span class="caps">LREM</span> party won 308 seats in the 577-strong National Assembly, while MoDem gained 42.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><em>with Reuters</em></p>