Top Hollande aide resigns over conflict of interest

2014-04-18 17:02
(Thomas Samson, AFP)

(Thomas Samson, AFP)

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Clermont-Ferrand - A top adviser to President Francois Hollande stepped down on Friday following media accusations of a past conflict of interest between a previous role working for the state and work for the drugs industry, a source at Hollande's office said.

"Mr Aquilino Morelle has offered his resignation to the president of the republic," the source said, referring to the adviser, who is Holande's main speechwriter and a senior aide on political strategy.

Morelle had denied accusations by investigative website Mediapart that he failed to obtain clearance for lobbying work when he was an employee of the public health inspectorate.

The report also criticised Morelle's supposed lavish lifestyle at a time when the government is making cuts in public spending.

Hollande sought to distance himself from the new scandal, telling reporters while on a visit to Clermont-Ferrand "I am not the judge of what he did before."

"What happened before, it's up to him alone to answer for," Hollande said, adding that he'd accepted Morelle's resignation "immediately".

Hollande's approval rating has recently hit a new low of 18% despite a cabinet reshuffle three weeks ago.

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