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Car, gun, money: The scandal surrounding Macron's ex-Aide attacks France



PARIS – The chic car, the luxury address, the rifle

How and why a security advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron gained them is at the heart of a policy. The scandal dragged the leader who led the Voters had promised a model government less than 1

5 months ago, to their knees.

France was hit in the two weeks since the newspaper Le Monde by a political firestorm that often beat a man at the side of the president Protester at observation of demonstrations on May 1 with police

The video captured Violence led to questions about Alexandre Benalla's role in the presidential palace of Elysee. It has also fed Macron's critics claiming that the former investment banker runs the country like a private company with a small band of subordinates.

Shock turned rage when the public learned that government officials knew about the beatings the day after and suspended Benalla for only two weeks instead of dismissing him and reporting him to the judiciary.

The punishment was generally considered so inappropriate that it raised worrying questions: was there a cover-up? Does France have a parallel police system or a deep state that is driving the country out of the shadows?

Macron dismissed the growing scandal as a "storm in a teapot". But public outrage is having an effect. In autumn, a staff reorganization is expected in the presidential palace of Elysee. Opinion polls indicate that the crisis has already cost the popularity of the French leader.

The government survived two no-confidence votes on Tuesday in the House of Commons, where Macron's centrist party is in control. But the virulent debate that accompanied the votes made it clear that France's political opposition would not let the drama die.

The authorities have moved quickly to catch up with the firestorm. Benalla lost his job two days after Le Monde had identified him. Days later, a coroner handed him preliminary indictments, three senior police officers, and an employee of Macron's party who had accompanied Benalla to the May Day protest.

Normally, invisible officials leading France have been cramped under TV bills. The leaders of the national police, a general, the administrators who run the Elysee Palace, and the Home Secretary were among the two parliamentary commissions to explain Benalla's initial slight punishment, and why the 26-year-old had a weapons permit and perks an Elysee car, which is usually reserved for police officers.

Macron, 40, did not say a word about the shots until he became viral six days after the video when he pushed back.

"Alexandre Benalla never held the nuclear codes. Alexandre Benalla has never lived in a 300-square-foot apartment … Alexandre Benalla has never been my lover," said the president, adding news and rumors about his counselor's supposedly favorable treatment addressed.

Macron said he saw Benalla as a betrayer of violence, but acknowledged the work and loyalty of a young man from a deprived area in Normandy, who the president said he would not forget "whatever happens".

Despite the revelations, a mystery hangs over the adjutant. He signed on to Macron's security detail during his presidential campaign and quickly moved into his closest circle.

Benalla received the vague title "Charge de Mission", which kept him away from the official books. On official outings, he was often seen on Macron's side. The ambiguity of his duties, however, has helped to fuel speculation about the secret police. The Presidential Palace has a complex security unit consisting of military gendarmerie and police.

Benalla said his job was to organize visits from presidents.

"There is no parallel police," said Secretary General of the Elysee Palace, Alexis Kohler, Before the Senate Inquiry Committee

long before the scandal broke, Macron, who created a political party from scratch, was criticized accused of assuming an imperial presidency and living on a citadel, cut off from French citizens with whom he had vowed to join.

Two recent polls indicate that the Benalla affair did not help. An Ipsos poll conducted shortly after the scandal showed the president a popularity rating of 32 percent – four points less than the previous month. A survey conducted by the Ifop company also reported a four-point decline in Macron's popularity one week after the crisis.

Some believe that the affair has had too much influence.

"We should not paralyze the country," said art gallery owner Franck Le Feuvre, one of those who think the scandal is a waste of time. Benalla "is just a guy who was too eager, and nobody dared to intervene so as not to offend the big boss."

Benalla has said that he regrets that his actions are "the source of many fantasies."

Government officials testified before parliamentary commission of inquiry that Benalla was granted an apartment in Elysee owned by the Seine while serving his suspension and continuing to receive his salary, which was to be deducted from his holiday season.

They also revealed that while working on Inside the Presidential Palace, Benalla received a permit for a pistol on the fourth attempt. The permit was approved after Macron's office director Patrick Strzoda had sent new reasons for a new ruling to the police.

The slender car with police light used by the security adviser is required for presidential carriages, Strzoda said. 19659030] The commandant at the bottom of the May protest, where Benalla was violently assassinated, testified that he described Benalla, who was an observer illegally armed with a police bracelet and radio, as a civil servant.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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