French President Emmanuel Macron Spearheads the Fight against Conflicts of Interests and Nepotism in the Country

President E. Macron

Recently, President Emmanuel Macron made an effort to live up to his promise of restoring the public’s faith in the country’s politicians. Convincing the national assembly to approve the first part of the moralization of public life bill, marks his endeavor to make the nations’ politics more transparent and free from conflict of interest and nepotism. This effort by Macron acts as a response to his inaugural speech as the country’s president in May whereby he asserted that France could only be a model for other nations if it becomes exemplary. As such, he mandated himself to reinstate the confidence required by the French people to believe more in themselves.

It took the French members of parliament or otherwise known as deputes close to 50 hours to go through over 800 amendments before voting for the bill. The first bit of the bill, which is aimed at restoring confidence in public life, garnered 319 votes to 4. Additionally, the second reading of the bill received 203 votes to 37.

Nepotism Issues in France

During the recently held French election, ethical and financial probity in public life was the central focus of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign. The promise to address this issue was a smart strategy for Macron considering the corruption scandals leveled against his political adversaries like the far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and the conservative Les Republicains party’s Francios Fillon. Both individuals faced allegations of creating fake jobs for their friends and family members. Furthermore, some French MPs such as the far-left La France Insoumise movement’s Jean-Luc Melenchon and Marine Le Pen are facing investigations pertaining the possible misappropriation of the European Parliament funds.

How the Bill will Eradicate Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest

• Nepotism

Once the bill becomes part of the French law, it will be a crime for local executive bodies, members of parliament and ministers to employ their close family members such as parents and children. Those found guilty of this offense will receive a €45,000 fine and a three-year prison sentence coupled with the reimbursement of any paid salaries. French MPs will be required to declare the hiring of their family members or those of another MP to the national assembly.

• Conflicts of Interest

According to Le Parisien, a French daily, MPs in France currently walk away with €5,373 for their expenses while senators get €6,110. When the bill passes, these expenses will be subjected to more control. In fact, the reimbursement for expenses will be done upon providing receipts or in the case of a request for an advance.

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