Shut up about Clearstream: Chirac to ministers

17th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 17, 2006 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called his ministers to order over the so-called Clearstream affair Wednesday, telling them to stop the quarrelling that has plunged the government into crisis and concentrate instead on the country's improving economic data.

PARIS, May 17, 2006 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called his ministers to order over the so-called Clearstream affair Wednesday, telling them to stop the quarrelling that has plunged the government into crisis and concentrate instead on the country's improving economic data.

The president was "keen to firmly remind each minister of the need to communicate the good results that have been obtained on employment and growth," government spokesman Jean-François Copé said after a weekly cabinet meeting.

According to ministers who were present, the president warned that the government's achievements were being overshadowed by the public rift between Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy over the Clearstream dirty tricks scandal.

The government's credibility has been undermined in the last three weeks by reports that Villepin ordered a secret investigation into allegations — which turned out to be false — that Sarkozy ran an illicit offshore bank account.

On Tuesday Villepin put up a determined defence in parliament in a censure debate called by the opposition Socialist Party (PS), describing himself as the victim of a campaign of lies and rejecting calls for his resignation.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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