France probes local election sock fraud
French officials opened an inquiry after an official in southern France was found with voting slips stuffed into his socks.
PERPIGNAN, France, March 19, 2008 - French officials opened an
inquiry Tuesday into a suspected case of fraud in weekend local elections,
after an official in southern France was found with voting slips stuffed into
Local prosecutors have requested charges against the head of a polling
station in the southern city of Perpignan, a 58-year-old retired electrician,
who was discovered late Sunday carrying a dozen voting slips and envelopes.
The man's brother was standing on the team of the incumbent mayor Jean-Paul Alduy, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party, who was narrowly reelected in Sunday's second round vote.
Prosecutors said they had not been convinced by his claim that he was
planning to correct a counting error at the station.
The left-wing candidate in Perpignan Jacqueline Amiel-Donat, who lost by
574 votes, has lashed out at what she called "generalised fraud" in the town
of 100,000 inhabitants near the Spanish border.
Some 600 to 800 people demonstrated outside Perpignan town hall,
brandishing socks and calling for a new election.