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Emmanuel Macron's defense minister resigns over scandal

Emmanuel Macron's defense minister resigns over scandal

Sylvie Goulard, the defence minister, resigned on the eve of a reshuffle following the triumph of the president's R├ępublique En Marche party in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

French Armed Forces Minister Sylvie Goulard unexpectedly quit her job on Tuesday, saying she did not want to stay on because of an investigation overshadowing her Modem party's affairs in the European Parliament.

On Monday, the president asked close ally Richard Ferrand, who is embroiled in a conflict-of-interest scandal, to leave the cabinet and instead seek the leadership of REM's parliamentary group.

Mr Ferrand is the subject of a preliminary inquiry by prosecutors into allegations that...

Goulard, who was previously a member of the European Parliament, said she could not remain in the government while there was a possibility that she could be investigated over alleged misuse of expenses at that parliament. LREM's solid majority means Macron does not need Modem's votes to get legislation through parliament, giving him more flexibility when deciding whether to keep them in a government that includes members of several parties.

Goulard was named to the defence job only a month ago following Macron's election to the presidency.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to reveal the line-up of the new government on Wednesday.




The former MEP wanted to demonstrate her good will in the preliminary investigation into the use of assistants in the European Parliament.

But she said the possibility of an investigation made it hard for her to stay in the post given Macron's agenda to clean up politics.

"The president [Emmanuel Macron] has undertaken to restore confidence in public office, to reform France and to revive Europe". The ministers' departure gives Macron, who promised to clean up French politics, a chance to reshape his government without including names who could prove awkward.

Separately, sources said France's far-right National Front has refused to let Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party's co-founder, attend a meeting, blocking him at the gate on his 89th birthday.

Le Monde reported on its website that Bayrou said Goulard's decision was "strictly personal" and didn't put Modem's participation in the government in doubt.

The proposal stems from the rejuvenated Franco-German leadership in the bloc since the election of Macron whose pro-EU views are shared by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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