The French five-star general who has 'bewitched' President Hollande


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Benoît Puga. The name reverberates like an overstretched rubber band. Or, if one prefers to use a military metaphor, like the muffled sound of a submachine gun. Behind his impeccable demeanour and faintly ironic smile, Benoît Puga is one of the most powerful men in the French Republic but also one of the most secret. A general with five stars notched on his képi, the highest rank in the French army, his title is Chef d’État-Major particulier du Président (CEMP), or chief of the president's military staff. In other words he is the French head of state's military advisor and his principal consultant on all defence issues.