Macron faces first internal crisis since becoming French President
France 24 reports that the French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a shake-up of his office after acknowledging failings in the way the presidency handled a scandal over his top bodyguard who was filmed beating a protester on May Day, a source close to the Elysee said.
The bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, was placed under investigation on Sunday in a case that has sparked a political storm and brought the sharpest criticism Macron has faced since taking power 14 months ago.
Le Monde newspaper released a video last week showing Benalla at the May 1 protests in Paris wearing a riot helmet and police tags while off duty. In the footage, he can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator.
On Friday, French media released a second video which showed Benalla also manhandling the woman.
Although Macron fired Benalla on Friday but faced he failed serious criticism for failing to act sooner.
Lawmakers have launched a parliamentary inquiry into the incident, the lenient initial punishment and the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary.
Critics of Macron said the incident reinforced perceptions of a lofty, out-of-touch president, following controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool built at a presidential retreat, and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.
After winning the presidency last year at the head of a new political movement, Macron’s poll ratings have been falling steadily, down to barely 40 percent.
Despite overseeing a raft of economic and social reforms, the 40-year-old former investment banker has been labelled “president of the rich” by many left-wing critics.
The prosecutor’s office said on Sunday evening Benalla would be investigated over group violence, interference in public service and illegal wearing of a police badge along with two other felonies.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb is to be questioned by members of the national assembly on Monday and by the Senate on Tuesday.