Two more French ministers quit amid investigations

Sarnez has been an intermittent member of the European Parliament since 1999, while Goulard has held a position there since 2009.Bayrou announced his resignation following allegations of misuse of European Parliament funds by the centrist party he founded, the Modem.Mr. Bayrou and Sarnez are cornerstones of the MoDem, or Democratic Movement, a centrist party led by Mr. Bayrou that aligned with Mr. Macron during the presidential campaign.In exchange, the president rewarded the party for its support by giving them key jobs in his first cabinet – a caretaker government between the two elections.His government is seeking to extend France’s existing state of emergency through November 1, the time it will take the new security bill to pass through parliament.Macron has been carrying out a partial reshuffle of his month-old government following parliamentary elections that handed him and his MoDem allies a commanding majority.REM took 308 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, meaning it does not need the support of MoDem, which won 42 seats, to push legislation through parliament.When Bayrou threw his weight behind Macron’s fledging party, the future president hailed it as a “turning point” in his campaign. Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said “that’s only this week, we wanted to make images”.Mr. Bayrou was also criticized for calling the head of the investigative team at a French radio station to complain about its work on the MoDem.The opposition Republicans called the resignations a “political scandal” and a “major government crisis”. “A quarter of the government has gone”, said Mr Laurent Wauquiez, the conservative party’s vice-president.Earlier this year, another preliminary investigation was opened after an MEP from the far-right National Front (FN) party had written to judges to tell them that Modem MEPs were paying party members with European Union money.’We have to promote a Europe that goes toward greater economic and social wellbeing, ‘ French president told newspapers ahead of Brussels summit.Bayrou, who has run three times for president, has dismissed the allegations against his party.A preliminary investigation was launched in Paris earlier this month after a former assistant to former MEP Jean-Luc Benhamias told judges that he had been employed mainly for party activities.Bayrou’s personal approval ratings had slid to around 20 percent by Wednesday, and observers noted the allegations did not chime well with Macron’s pledge to usher in a new era of cleaner politics after a series of scandals involving ministers under his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande.Restoring the reputation of the French political class has become an increasingly important topic in France after Francois Fillon’s presidential bid very publicly collapsed on reports that he paid his wife for work as a parliamentary aide that she allegedly did not perform.