Comic says he tricked Segolene Royal

26th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 26, 2007 (AFP) - A French comedian claimed Friday to have framed Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal with a spoof telephone call impersonating the prime minister of Quebec.

PARIS, Jan 26, 2007 (AFP) - A French comedian claimed Friday to have framed Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal with a spoof telephone call impersonating the prime minister of Quebec.

Gerald Dahan -- who is seen as close to Royal's right-wing rival Nicolas Sarkozy -- told French radio he called her late Wednesday claiming to be Quebec Premier Jean Charest, to discuss a row over comments in which she appeared to back independence for the French-speaking province.

Royal arrived late at a public debate on Wednesday, announcing to the room that she had just been speaking with the prime minister of Quebec -- and that he sent his greetings to the assembly.

Dahan, who specialises in tricking public figures with bogus telephone calls, claimed to have duped half a dozen of Royal's advisers, and finally the candidate herself, who spoke with him for 10 minutes.

He played a brief extract of the alleged conversation on air, in which he jokingly compares Royal's comments on Quebec to suggesting independence for  Corsica, the restive French Mediterranean island.

"The French people wouldn't be opposed to the idea, by the way," a woman's voice is heard to reply with a laugh -- before adding: "Don't repeat that, though -- it would cause another incident in France. It's a secret."

Faced with a barrage of protests over her comments on Quebec Monday, Royal later said she simply meant she would respect the sovereign choice of the people in any vote on the future of the Canadian province.

No comment was immediately available from Royal's campaign camp on Dahan's claims. The candidate herself left on Thursday for a trip to the French Antilles in the Caribbean.

In 2005, Dahan made headlines when he called French football captain Zinedine Zidane posing as President Jacques Chirac and convinced the team to cross their hearts when the French anthem was played before the match.

In January 2006, Chirac himself was tricked by a Quebecois humorist who spoke with him on the telephone pretending to be Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Segolene Royal, Quebec

0 Comments To This Article