Royal appeals to Chirac over probe allegations

25th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 25, 2007 (AFP) - France's Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal called on President Jacques Chirac Thursday to restore order in the election campaign following claims her right-wing rival ordered a probe into one of her staff.


PARIS, Jan 25, 2007 (AFP) - France's Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal called on President Jacques Chirac Thursday to restore order in the election campaign following claims her right-wing rival ordered a probe into one of her staff.

Speaking on French radio, Royal urged Chirac to "ensure the proper conduct" of the campaign, accusing her principal rival Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy of "mounting generalised attacks, including on my private life."

Satirical French newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported Wednesday that Sarkozy's cabinet ordered the police General Intelligence (RG) service to dig up dirt on the former head of Greenpeace France, Bruno Rebelle, now a member of Royal's team.

Sarkozy has dismissed the claims as "ridiculous" and his cabinet issued a formal denial. But the French newspaper Le Parisien said Thursday that "several sources close to the ministry" had confirmed the report.

The RG on Thursday confirmed it had a file with biographical details on Rebelle, which was updated "automatically and without instruction" when he moved to join Royal's campaign earlier this month.

Rebelle's lawyer announced on Thursday that he intended to take legal action for invasion of his privacy.

The Socialist Party (PS) has demanded an official inquiry and repeated its call for Sarkozy to step down as minister to level the playing field in the campaign for April's election.

"There has to be an inquiry. We cannot just allow anything in an election campaign," Royal told RMC radio. "The French people want the campaign to focus on real issues."

Last week Royal accused Sarkozy of using "thuggish" methods, charging that his camp was behind an Internet rumour falsely claiming that she and her partner, PS chief Francois Hollande, were tax evaders.

Royal who is bidding to become France's first ever woman president, has been lagging in the polls since Sarkozy's triumphant nomination earlier this month as candidate for the ruling Union for a Popular Movement.

She has come under fire recently for a series of diplomatic gaffes, and   according to Le Monde newspaper Sarkozy's campaign has set up a cell to monitor her public statements for further slip-ups.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News Presiden

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