A damming report published this week by a French Senate commission of inquiry set up to investigate the scandal surrounding President Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced former security aide Alexander Benalla was dismissed on Thursday by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe as being politically motivated. The senators found that the events behind the scandal, which began when Benalla was filmed assaulting people on the sidelines of a May Day march last year, and which have been followed by Mediapart’s revelations that the maverick aide has been negotiating personal security deals worth 2.2 million euros with Russian oligarch’s close to the Kremlin, are the result of “major failings” at the heart of the Élysée Palace, which placed at risk “the security of the head of state and, beyond this, the interests of our country”.
A report by a French Senate commission of inquiry into the implications, and possible cover-up on high, of the unfolding scandal surrounding President Macron's former personal security aide Alexandre Benalla, has ofund top Elysée officials may have withheld information from the commission, that Benalla lied to it and that Macron's security and 'the nation's interests' were compromised by Benalla's business dealings with Russian oligarchs.
Alexandre Benalla, the 27-year-old security aide for French President Emmanuel Macon whose ambiguous role inside the Élysée Palace came under scrutiny after video published on social media showed him beating participants in May Day demonstrations while illegally wearing police insignia, reluctantly submitted to questions by a Senate commission of inquiry in parallel to a judicial investigation into his actions.
A French Senate report has found that last year 300 helicopters out of France's total military fleet of 467 were 'immobilized', a problem the report said 'prevented the conduct of certain missions, particularly in France', while warning that the pressure on service personnel is leading to their exhaustion.
The much-trumpeted law to improve morality in public life and restore public confidence in the nation's elected representatives has passed its key hurdle in the French Parliament. The two key measures voted for by Members of the National Assembly were the ban on MPs employing members of their own family, and an obligation to produce receipts for expenses. After 50 hours of sometimes lively debate and 800 amendments, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour – even if some on the Right called it an act of “masochism”. Mathilde Mathieu reports.
Proposed legislation by France's new government to enshrine into regular law certain far-reaching powers allowed under the current state of emergency has passed its first parliamentary test after the Senate approved the bill by a two-thirds majority, meaning it will now go before the lower house, the National Assembly, where the government has a large majority, in October.
The French Senate voted on Thursday in favour of inscribing into the constitution the stripping of French nationality from dual-nationals convicted of terrorist crimes. The text adopted by the Senate is fundamentally different to that adopted last month in the National Assembly, the lower house, which allows for the stripping of French nationality of anyone convicted of terrorism, effectively allowing for individuals to become stateless. As Christophe Gueugneau and Ellen Salvi report, the conflict now appears likely to definitively bury what was one of President François Hollande’s two key and highly controversial constitutional reforms in reaction to the November 13th terrorist massacres in Paris.
A Senate report said the estimated costs were mostly on medical care, but included lower crop production and cleaning of blackened buildings.
French senator and billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault is at the centre of a judicial investigation into suspected electoral fraud in which cash payments were made to voters to buy his election as mayor of a suburban town south of Paris, and also that of his designated successor. In 2013, Mediapart published a secretly-taped video in which the conservative politician and businessman, owner of daily Le Figaro and who has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity, admitted to handing out cash to voters in Corbeil-Essonnes. Now a new book by two French journalists, entitled Dassault Système, details the history of the scandal, and in the extracts published here by Mediapart, reveals how police reports providing evidence of the scam were intriguingly shelved.
In the French Senate, it appears that crossing a courtyard can be a lucrative affair. Mediapart has learnt how the secretary general of the upper house’s conservative UMP party group of senators was given 173,000 euros, paid out of publicly-provided funds, as an indemnity payment for losing his job, and just weeks before taking up another post with the Senate’s president, UMP party member Gérard Larcher. Mathilde Mathieu reports on the latest example of the gravy-train lifestyle enjoyed at the Senate, whose UMP party group is at the centre of an ongoing judicial investigation into suspected money laundering and misuse of public funds.
Under new proposal - which has to be approved by MPs - prostitutes would continue to face fines and jail but customers would not be prosecuted.
The narrow vote in France's upper house follows a similar move by MPs in the National Assembly earlier this month.
Rosen Hicher is angry that draft law to fine men up to €1,500 for paying for sex was shelved by a French Senate committee in July.
For the last three years France's upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, has been under the political control of the Left, a rarity in the history of the Fifth Republic. On Sunday that brief interlude ended when, as expected, the Right regained control of the chamber during partial elections, with the centre-right faring especially well. And for the first time the far-right Front National gained entry to the Senate, picking up two seats. Meanwhile the ruling Socialist Party took comfort from the fact that a number of its candidates fared better than expected, though there were some symbolic defeats for key allies of President François Hollande. Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses the significance of the weekend's elections.