“I have never raped a single woman in my life”: the new Minister of Solidarity Damien Abad tried to regain control on Monday evening, after receiving conditional support from the executive after the first Council of Ministers of the government of Elisabeth Borne.

“Should an innocent man resign? I don’t think so”, hammered the former head of the LR deputies, who entered the government on Friday, from the constituency of Ain where he is a candidate for re-election in the June legislative elections.

“I dispute the accusations against me with the greatest firmness,” he repeated, forcefully rejecting the accusations made by two women against him and denouncing, in the regional daily Le Progrès, an “unhealthy voyeurism”.

Hiding behind his physical disability to explain that the charges against him were impossible, he stressed in Le Figaro that the legislative elections of June 12 and 19 would be the “justice of the peace”.

The controversy around Damien Abad, the only major recruit of Macronie on the right since the re-election of Emmanuel Macron on April 24, has sealed the atmosphere at the first Council of Ministers of the Macron II quinquennium.

While calls for his resignation are increasing in the opposition, the executive refused to give in to pressure and let go of his minister.

“Justice is the only one who must or can decide,” said the new government spokeswoman, Olivia Grégoire, believing that it was up to her to “establish the truth” while recalling the leader’s “zero tolerance”. of the State and the Prime Minister for sex offenders”.

Two complaints against Damien Abad have already been dismissed, but the justice system is analyzing a new report from the Observatory of gender-based and sexual violence in politics.

The secretary

e national of the PS Olivier Faure has already invited the Prime Minister to separate from his minister because “the voice of women must be respected”.

“The simple fact of repeatedly having inappropriate behavior with women should disqualify you from a post, in this case a minister,” said Marine Le Pen.

The Prime Minister, for her part, assured that she “was not aware” of these cases when her government was composed.

Determined to remain “master of the clocks” as the legislative elections approach and not to be overwhelmed by this affair, the Head of State has endeavored to chart the course of the new government team, after having greeted the novices around the table.

“The government you are forming is above all else (…) a government to act”, he launched, pointing to “an unprecedented context” with the Covid-19 crisis, “from which we are barely emerging so is that it is totally over” and the “return of the war in Europe”.

“Act, therefore, to bring our country together, (with) a government that resembles it,” he said, welcoming ministers from the political world and from civil society.

A “government of continuity, of new things at the same time”, he assured with, seated to his left, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, career diplomat and former spokesperson for Jacques Chirac at the Elysée, and on his right Bruno Le Maire, reappointed to Economy and Finance and now number two in the government.

It is a question of “both consolidating what has been done during the past five years” and “building a new action on the substance and on the form”, he hammered .

The fate of Elisabeth Borne’s team is suspended after the legislative elections. Half of the members of the government (14 out of 28) are in the running and those who are defeated will have to leave the government as soon as they arrive.

The Borne government’s first bill, which relates to the defense of purchasing power, “everyday priority” of the French and government “emergency”, will be presented before the legislative elections of June 12 and 19, said Olivia Grégoire.

“You have to go fast, so we’re going to go fast,” she hammered. On the other hand, the delicate pension reform was not addressed during this first Council of Ministers.

05/23/2022 21:46:33 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP