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Tags: EU | France | Politics

French President Denounces Fillon's Claims of Dirty Tricks

French President Denounces Fillon's Claims of Dirty Tricks

Friday, 24 March 2017 08:38 AM

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande on Friday vigorously denounced suggestions by the conservative presidential hopeful that he is trying to discredit political rivals behind the scenes by using dirty tricks.

The clash between Hollande and Francois Fillon threatens to further stain the French presidential campaign, already colored by a stream of corruption scandals and voter frustration with the political establishment.

Fillon, whose presidential bid is flailing because of a href='https://apnews.com/032fb8f74ecf4ea9a401a9baed4080bc/French-prosecutors-extend-Fillon's-probe-to-suspected-fraud'corruption charges/a, told France-2 television Thursday night that he wants an investigation into supposed revelations in an upcoming book that Hollande intervenes in legal cases and embarrassing leaks for political reasons.

"I am going to accuse the president of the republic," Fillon said. "If we are looking for a cabinet noir, we found the cabinet noir," referring to an alleged secret bureau tasked with political dirty tricks.

"Tonight, I solemnly ask that there is an investigation opened on the allegations raised in this book because this is a scandal of state," he continued.

One of the authors of the book, "Bienvenue Place Beauvau," reportedly said that Fillon misinterpreted its findings.

Hollande, a Socialist, responded in a statement saying he "condemns these false allegations with the greatest firmness." He insisted he had never intervened in any judicial procedure, including the recent investigation into accusations that Fillon employed family members for parliamentary jobs they never performed.

"There is a dignity, a responsibility that needs to be respected. I think that Mr. Fillon is beyond that," Hollande told France-Bleu radio Friday.

Asked if there is a "cabinet noir," Hollande said "There is an administration, fortunately, that functions. But it is not for us to meddle in judicial affairs, and my position has always been for the independence of the justice system, the respect for the presumption of innocence, and to never interfere."

Fillon, a former prime minister, was once the front-runner in the race for France's two-round election April 23 and May 7, but has seen his popularity sink since the jobs investigation opened.

Fillon denies wrongdoing and says the case against him is a smear campaign by rivals.

"When I see that it took only two hours to open an investigation of my wife's job, then I think that it would only take a few days to open an investigation about a book that harshly accuses the head of state," he said Thursday.

Voters appear fed up with both Fillon's conservative and Hollande's Socialists. For the first time in generations, neither is likely to win the presidency.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
French President Francois Hollande on Friday vigorously denounced suggestions by the conservative presidential hopeful that he is trying to discredit political rivals behind the scenes by using dirty tricks.The clash between Hollande and Francois Fillon threatens to further...
EU,France,Politics
415
2017-38-24
Friday, 24 March 2017 08:38 AM
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