Why the buck stops with Macron over Benalla scandal

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Without Emmanuel Macron there would have been no Alexandre Benalla at the Élysée; for the man who dressed with police insignia and assaulted demonstrators owes everything to the president. But, equally, there would be no Benalla scandal without the support given by the president of the Republic to his trusted aide. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that it is this protection, even lying, that makes this scandal an affair of state.

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The Benalla affair has been merciless in the way it has exposed political life. It has shown how the government that emerged from the electoral massacre in 2017 ultimately has little democratic conscience, that combination of caution and scruples which harbours concern for the common good, above and beyond its own fate. Here is a president of the French Republic, a figure supposed to be the president for everyone and above groups and factions, who just a week ago himself launched a political and media counter-attack in the manner of a gang leader in front of his loyal followers. Challenging the opposing checks and balances of the state, Parliament, the press and even the justice system, he declared: “Let them come and get me.”