Female minister in Emmanuel Macron’s new cabinet is being investigated over rape claims

A NEWLY appointed female minister in Emmanuel Macron’s French government is being investigated over rape claims, compounding the president’s political woes after he lost his parliamentary majority at the weekend.

hrysoula Zacharopoulou, the secretary of state for development and international partnerships, is the subject of two complaints from a woman who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The 46-year-old worked as a gynaecologist before she became a politician and French media earlier reported the complaints were linked to her professional activities.

Prosecutors said the first complaint of rape was lodged on May 25, which led to the opening of an investigation on May 27. A second complaint was filed on June 16.

Greece-born Ms Zacharopoulou joined the government in May, having been an MEP for the previous three years.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married François Hollande, the former French president. She has also spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

Ms Zacharopoulou is the second new Macron minister to face rape allegations.

Damien Abad, minister for solidarity and the disabled, has denied allegations that he raped two women and has made it plain he has no intention of resigning from his post.

Prosecutors also investigated Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, over a rape allegation filed in 2017.

He denied any wrongdoing and in January prosecutors asked for the case to be dropped.

The latest rape investigation came as French opposition leaders slapped down Mr Macron’s proposal to create a cross-party “government of national unity” to avoid parliamentary deadlock after he failed to secure a majority in Sunday’s legislative elections.

Mr Macron’s centrist alliance fell 44 seats short of its target in the National Assembly, as a new left-green coalition and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally made spectacular gains.

Speaking to the nation in a live televised address last night, Mr Macron said all party leaders in the parliament agree on the need to avoid political gridlock and must now learn to compromise.

In his first comments since the election on Sunday, Mr Macron said agreements needed to be found across party lines and that he would seek over the next weeks to establish a working majority.

Mr Macron had enjoyed full control over parliament during his first term from 2017. But voters who re-elected him as president in April delivered a hung parliament on Sunday, angry over rising inflation and his perceived indifference.

“I cannot ignore the fractures, the deep divisions that run through our country and are reflected in the composition of the new Assembly,” Mr Macron said.

“We will have to clarify in the course of the next few days how much responsibility and co-operation the different formations in the National Assembly are prepared to accept.”

He added that, while he would spend the next two days at a European Union summit, it was up to the political party leaders to say “how far they are prepared to go”.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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