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Hollande popularity drops over ex-minister scandal

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The financial scandal of a former French minister has dealt a blow to the popularity of President Francois Hollande sending his approval rating to its lowest level since coming to power.

According to a poll conducted by the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, only 27 percent of participants are satisfied with Hollande, while 68 percent have expressed dissatisfaction.

French Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac stepped down from his post on March 19, after prosecutors opened an investigation into tax fraud allegations revealed by online news website Mediapart last December.

Cahuzac denied the allegations for several months, calling them “slanderous” and told the French parliament that, “I don’t have, I never have had accounts abroad.”

On Tuesday, Cahuzac was charged with laundering the proceeds of tax fraud after he admitted to having an undeclared Swiss bank account with about 600,000 euros (about 776,000 US dollars) for the past 20 years.

After a meeting between Peer Steinbrück German Social Democrat Party’s candidate for the Chancellery in the upcoming elections and Hollande, DPA reported that both politicians are facing “historically poor poll results.”

Steinbrück, who is set to face off with Chancellor Angela Merkel in September elections, currently has a 32 percent approval rating in Germany and is not in a better position compared to Hollande.

In an article following the scandal, the French paper Libération said Hollande cannot compensate the mistake he made in not forcing Cahuzac to resign earlier, and he waited for the results of investigations by the Paris prosecutor’s office.


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