The French political establishment has been badly shaken by a series of corruption scandals.
The resignation of Jerome Cahuzac (see page 7) is hugely embarrassing to the Socialist Party government. It has tried to balance cuts with a promised clampdown on tax dodging for the rich.
He was caught evading tax and laundering the money in a secret Swiss bank account containing over £500,000.
“I was caught in a spiral of lies and lost my way,” he said last week, after previously denying the allegations.
But the right wing opposition has fared no better.
Cops searched the apartment of Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. She is accused of abusing her authority when she was economy minister for president Nicolas Sarkozy.
It is alleged that she helped boss Bernard Tapie win a court case in return for his backing Sarkozy in the 2007 election.
Another of Sarkozy’s ministers, Claude Gueant, has had his house searched in the same investigation.
And judges are investigating Sarkozy himself over donations he received from France’s richest woman, Liliane Bettencourt.
The leading judge in the investigation has received death threats.
The left wing Front de Gauche coalition has called a demonstration in Paris next month.