French President Emmanuel Macron visits a recreational centre for children in Moisson, France August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

FRANCE’S National Assembly
on Wednesday adopted a bill
meant to help clean up national
politics after hard-fought
debates over a clause scrapping
lawmakers’ constituency funds,
which critics say encourage
clientelism.
The bill is the second of two
on public ethics – a key theme
for President Emmanuel Macron
during the election campaign,
which was dominated for
months by allegations of
financial impropriety against his
conservative rival Francois Fillon,
who denied any wrongdoing.
Parliament’s lower house,
which has the final word on the
matter, voted in favor of the bill
by 412 votes to 74.
Lawmakers from Fillon’s party,
The Republicans, voted against
the text, while Socialist legislators
from France Unbowed and the
Communist Party abstained.
Macron’s Republic on the Move
holds a big majority in the
chamber.
The Republican-dominated Senate last month refused to adopt
the bill because of the proposal
to abolish constituency funds,
which the center-right party says
helps “anchor” lawmakers in
their constituencies.
Justice Minister Nicole
Belloubet said the funds
encouraged patronage.
The first of the public ethics
bills was adopted by parliament
last week.
The two bills together prohibit
ministers, national lawmakers
and locally elected officials from
employing family members,
prevent individuals with
criminal records from seeking
elected office, and refuse
parliamentarians the right to
hold advisory roles during their
mandates.
Wednesday’s vote came a day
after a former justice minister was
forced to renounce his week-old
nomination to the Constitutional
Court after prosecutors opened
an investigation into allegations
he paid his daughter with public
funds for fake work.

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