French health minister replaces scandal-hit Macron ally in Paris mayoral race

Telegram från AFP / Omni
16 febr. 2020, 16.46

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said Sunday she had been chosen by the ruling party to run for mayor of Paris next month, replacing Benjamin Griveaux, who was toppled by a leaked sex video.

"I'm going for it with the aim of winning," Buzyn told AFP.

A ruling party source confirmed that she was quitting the government to launch her campaign and would be replaced in the coming hours in the health portfolio.

Griveaux, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, pulled out of the race on Friday over a video posted online which showed a man masturbating, along with racy text messages sent to a woman.

His decision to bow out marked a turning point in French public life, with senior politicians hit by sex scandals in the past brushing them off as purely private matters.

His departure left Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party scrambling to find a replacement candidate for Paris mayor, just a month before the vote.

A haemotologist who entered politics after Macron's election 2017 Buzyn is seen as one of the stronger performers in government.

She faces a stiff challenge to close the gap with incumbent Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist, who is leading in the polls.