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Sarkozy under pressure of political scandal

07-07-2010 08:09 BJT

PARIS, July 6 (Xinhua) -- After dismissing two overspending ministers, French President Nicolas Sarkozy himself was now under pressure of political scandal as Tuesday reports said he had taken illegal campaign donation of 150,000 euros (189,241 U.S. dollars)

A former accountant of the richest French woman Liliane Bettencourt, who is the L'Oreal heiress, disclosed the news to the website Mediapart, saying Sarkozy had taken the cash donation from Bettencourt during his presidential campaign in 2007.

Eric Woerth, present Labor Minister and then Sarkozy's campaign treasurer, was said to be the helper in the affair. Both the minister and the president denied the allegation, labeling it " false slander."

This was "a slander with only one goal, to smear with no basis in reality," Sarkozy said, followed by his spokesman's statement saying Bettencourt's payment of the considerable cash donation was "totally false" and "groundless."

The former accountant also said Sarkozy was a regular visitor to the Bettencourt family home and had taken envelop of cashes when he was the mayor of Neuilly, a rich town north to Paris.

Some other politicians of the right-wing were on the "gift" receiver name list of Bettencourt, whose fortune is estimated at 20 billion dollars and currently accused of having secret Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying French taxes.

According to French law, personal donation for a single candidate should be no more than 4,600 euros (5,800 dollars), including a cash donation cap at 150 euros (189 dollars).

This news, no matter true or false, definitely disgraced the already messed up French cabinet.

Two junior ministers resigned on Sunday after their behavior of over-spending taxpayers' money in private convenience were exposed and aroused public rage.

Members of the Socialist Party (SP), the main opposition party, voiced their indignation to the new scandal.

Socialist legislator Arnaud Montebourg has called for the nomination of "an independent examining magistrate" to inquire into the latest claims about Sarkozy's campaign donations.

The SP's General Secretary Martine Aubry called on Sarkozy to explain himself and said France was "confronting a major crisis of confidence."

Even some ruling party members said the president should speak to the people and make the political crisis under control.

Actually, Eric's recent involvement in Bettencourt tax-fraud suit has become a mockery to his national campaign against tax- evasion, which plus his support for Sarkozy to push for unpopular pension reform has evoked demand to reshuffle the cabinet.

On the same day, Sarkozy's approval rate has fallen to historical low at 33 percent, making him one of the most unpopular French president in three decades, according to a survey by the well-known pollster BVA.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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