French Socialist Royal in brouhaha over sacking of aides
Royal assailed a prominent right-winger who called for her resignation after being convicted over the firing of two former aides.14 April 2008
PARIS - French Socialist Segolene Royal on Monday assailed a prominent right-winger who called for her resignation as a regional chairman after a court convicted her over the firing of two former aides.
Royal, who was defeated in last year's presidential elections, accused former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin of libel after he commented that "wrongful dismissal should not be practised by someone who aspires to high office".
An appeals court in the western city of Rennes last week ruled against Royal in a case brought by two women who worked as her parliamentary assistants in the late 1990s.
The court ordered Royal, who is campaigning to win the leadership of the opposition Socialist Party, to pay several months in unpaid wages to the two ex-aides.
Raffarin called on Royal to resign as chairman of the Poitou-Charentes regional council, a post that he lost to Royal in 2004 elections.
Royal responded in a statement that she had not been convicted for wrongful dismissal and suggested that Raffarin had a hand in bringing the case to court.
"We now see who was behind this judicial trap," she said.
Socialists are to choose a new leader at a convention in November to replace Francois Hollande, Royal's former partner, and set the wheels in motion for the 2012 presidential election.
The court decision has drawn an avalanche of taunts and remarks from the ruling right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, which charged that Royal lacked the credentials to speak credibly about workers' rights.
"A candidate for the presidential election and someone who gives day-long morality lessons on labour rights cannot behave in a way that does not respect labour laws," said UMP secretary general Patrick Devedjian.
[AFP / Expatica]