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11 Nov, 2016 11:27

‘Simply doesn’t have right to rule’: French MPs in bid to impeach Hollande

‘Simply doesn’t have right to rule’: French MPs in bid to impeach Hollande

Dozens of French politicians have sent a draft resolution calling for the impeachment of President Francois Hollande to the High Court, national media report. The MPs accuse the leader of disclosing confidential information to the press.

“A copy of the draft resolution to the High Court was filed [by the members of the National Assembly],” the lower house of the French parliament, according to documents seen by AFP.

The High Court is a special jurisdiction responsible for ruling on the impeachment of the president. 

The politicians referred to a 2014 legislation which states that a president can be removed from office if there is a "breach of their duties that is clearly incompatible with the exercise of their mandate." 

The letter was also reportedly sent to the National Assembly, which will deliver it to President Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

The draft resolution included “79 original signatories” from Republican MPs, with others to be added later, according to the document. It said at least 152 Republicans supported the step.

However, a parliamentary source told AFP that the court will only count the 79 submitted signatures.

The resolution says it is based “on serious breaches of his [Hollande’s] duties shown by the President of the Republic, in particular by clear violations of defense secrecy.”

“It [the resolution] expresses our deep conviction that a president must not, cannot and simply does not have a right to say anything in relation to his responsibilities as head of state and army chief,” the document added.

The document is the initiative of Pierre Lellouche, a member of Les Républicains (the Republicans) party.
Among the politicians who signed the resolution are ex-Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who served in the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. Fillon, however, said that the procedure is unlikely to be a success “because the majority of parliament is necessary” to demand impeachment. The National Assembly currently has 577 members.

An additional impetus for politicians to proceed with the resolution was the release of a new book, ‘A President Shouldn’t Say That…’, in October. It was written by journalists Gerard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, who have met with Hollande 61 times since he became president. The book contains private conversations with the leader in which he made a number of controversial statements.

In one of the meetings, Hollande reportedly said there is a “problem with Islam, no one doubts it.” Referring to Muslim women, the French president said that “the veiled women of today will be the Marianne of tomorrow,” referring to a statue which stands in the Place de la Republique in Paris and serves as a symbol of France, liberty, and reason. The French president went on to elaborate on what he meant – that Muslim women can fully integrate into France if they remove their headscarves and veils.

READ MORE: ‘Problem with Islam’: Tell-all book reveals Hollande’s views from migrants to Sarkozy

Speaking on immigration – another hot topic in France – Hollande said in one of the cited public speeches that he believes there are “too many immigrant arrivals who should not be there.”

With elections looming next year, Hollande is in third place in the race to choose the next head of state, behind former Prime Minister Alain Juppe and Sarkozy. He has already been declared the most unpopular French president in history, according to numerous polls.

An Ipsos poll from October this year showed that 70 percent of the population are “unsatisfied” with Hollande, while another 26 percent are “neither satisfied nor unsatisfied” – meaning just 4 percent of the population support the president.