French Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard quits over fake jobs claims

June 20, 2017 10:30 pm

French Minister of the Armed Forces leaves the Elysee Palace after a weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, , May 31, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

French Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard has announced her resignation over a fake jobs scandal that has hit her small centrist MoDem Party, allied with President Emmanuel Macron’s party.
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 the alleged misuse of expenses at that parliament.
Her resignation comes as Macron carries out a minor reshuffle of his government following parliamentary elections on Sunday, which handed him and his allies in MoDem a commanding majority.
Goulard had only been in the defense job for a month following Macron’s election to the presidency. But she said the possibility of an investigation made it difficult for her to stay in the post given Macron’s agenda to clean up .
“The president is committed to restoring confidence in public office, reforming France and relaunching ,” Goulard said in a statement on Tuesday. “This reform agenda must take precedence over any personal considerations.That is why I have asked the president, with the agreement of the prime minister, to leave the government,” she added. 
Earlier this month, Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into claims in the Canard Enchaine newspaper that MoDem was using European parliamentary funds to pay staff based in France.
MoDem’s leader Francois Bayrou was a key backer of Macron’s one-year-old Republic on the Move (REM) during the presidential campaign and whose support was crucial in winning centrist votes for the new president.
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