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Rivals from across France's political spectrum joined in a chorus of alarm and dismay Friday, and warned that French democracy is in danger after an online leak of sexual images led an associate of French leader Emmanuel Macron to pull out of the race to become mayor of Paris.
Rapid expressions of support for Benjamin Griveaux, even from political rivals, were a striking reminder of the longstanding and widely held view in France that public servants private lives are largely off limits.
A Russian performance artist claimed responsibility for posting the sexually explicit videos that apparently prompted Griveaux to end his bid for Paris City Hall.
Politicians warned that people will no longer want to stand for elected office if they run the risk of their private affairs becoming public, and that the leaking of sexually explicit material to take Griveaux out of the municipal elections was a threat to Frances proud democratic traditions.
“Were not trying to elect saints,” said Sebastien Chenu, a spokesman for the far-right National Rally party, normally an unforgiving political opponent of Griveauxs centrist camp. Chenu was speaking on BFM-TV.
Very interesting to see how Paris reacts to its own Weiner moment – with outrage at the intrusion on a politician's privacy. Mayor Anne Hidalgo calls for 'respect for the private life', while Griveaux's former rival says the revelation is "a grave menace for our democracy". https://t.co/Ox3VEEDoix
— Benjamin Ramm (@BenjaminRamm) February 14, 2020
On the far left, former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon also expressed support, saying Griveaux was the victim of score-settling and that French public life must not become prey to voyeurism.
“The publication of intimate images to destroy an adversary is odious,” Melenchon tweeted.
Lawmaker Cedric Villani, who split from Griveauxs party to stand against him in Paris, warned in a tweet that his rival was the victim of an attack that posed “a serious threat for our democracy.”
Griveaux previously served as a spokesman for Macrons government. His sudden withdrawal from the mayoral race left Macrons centrist party without a candRead More – Source