French ecology minister to stay on despite lavish dinners scandal

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-12 23:26:11|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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PARIS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- French Ecology Minister Francois de Rugy said on Friday that he will keep his government post despite media allegations that he used taxpayer money to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

"I have absolutely no reason to resign. And the prime minister did not ask me to do so," de Rugy told BFMTV news channel.

"Of course, you feel like giving up" when "you are attacked morning, noon and night," he said. "You may want to stay at home (but) I will not do that," he stressed.

On July 10, the investigative website Mediapart revealed that de Rugy and his wife hosted a dozen luxury dinners, mostly for friends, at his official residence in central Paris while he was serving as parliament speaker from June 2017 to October 2018.

Mediapart published reports showing that the 45-year-old minister and his wife had paid 63,000 euros (70,871 U.S. dollars) using taxpayer money for the renovation of his government-provided apartment.

Rejecting any wrongdoing, de Rugy said he was the victim of "a machine launched to attack me."

On Thursday, the minister cut short a visit to western France after being summoned to the prime minister's office.

Taking office after an election campaign tainted by a series of corruption scandals, President Emmanuel Macron has promised to clean up French politics and insisted that his ministers must be morally irreproachable.

To that end, he proposed a law on the "moralization" of political life, which aimed to ban members of parliament, local representatives and senior civil servants from employing members of their family and required them to declare their personal interests.

Any person convicted of a crime or offence concerning their honesty would be banned from holding public office for 10 years.

The "moralization" law was adopted in August 2017.