Villepin resigns as French prime minister

16th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Tuesday presented his resignation to President Jacques Chirac, ahead of Wednesday's handover of power to president-elect Nicolas Sarkzoy.

PARIS, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Tuesday presented his resignation to President Jacques Chirac, ahead of Wednesday's handover of power to president-elect Nicolas Sarkzoy.

Villepin, who has led the government for just under two years, will stay on in his post until a successor is appointed by Sarkozy, probably on Thursday.

Francois Fillon is expected to be named as the new prime minister.

After his meeting with Chirac, the outgoing president accompanied 53-year-old Villepin out to the steps of the Elysee palace where he gave him a lengthy handshake and waved him goodbye.

After Chirac's 2002 re-election as president, Villepin was appointed foreign minister and his accomplished performance at the United Nations the next year denouncing US war aims in Iraq won him recognition around the world.

He was named prime minister after the debacle of France's rejection of the EU constitution, and initially proceeded with caution -- earning a reputation as a "social" reformer compared to his abrasively right-wing rival, the then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

But his reputation nosedived after massive street protests forced him to abandon his attempts to push through minor labour reform in 2006 and due to his unclear role in a smear campaign against Sarkozy.

UN weather agency re-elects secretary general for 4 more years

GENEVA, May 16, 2007 (AFP) - The UN weather agency said on Wednesday that France's Michel Jarraud was re-elected secretary general for a further four-year period, starting from January 2008.

Jarraud was the only candidate to head the 188-member World Meterological Organisation, which remains mired in scandal over an alleged 3.5 million dollar (2.6 million euro) fraud by a former senior official.

Maria Veiga, a former WMO internal auditor who claims she was fired after probing the scandal, has alleged that the embezzled funds were partly linked to campaigns for elections of the agency's secretary general in 2003.

The regional prosecutor in Geneva, Daniel Zappelli, has opened another investigation into possible use of the embezzled funds to pay for travel by developing nation representatives and influence voting.

Jarraud denies any wrongdoing or connection with the affair, adding he was not a candidate for secretary general at the time in question.

Following his re-election on Wednesday, he said the WMO "has become a model" for good governance and transparency, and pledged to continue to cooperate with judicial enquiries.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article