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Top Hollande aide quits in conflict of interest row

By Julien Ponthus and Nicholas Vinocur CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (Reuters) - A senior adviser to French President Francois Hollande quit on Friday over accusations of past conflict of interest linked to his work for pharmaceutical firms, adding to pressure on the unpopular Socialist leader weeks before European elections.

Bespoke shoes scandal claims scalp of Hollande aide

A close advisor to Francois Hollande resigned on Friday after allegations about a conflict of interest and his extravagant lifestyle dealt a fresh blow to the beleaguered French president. In a statement to AFP, senior political advisor Aquilino Morelle, 51, said he was stepping down but denied any wrongdoing in a scandal that has put the spotlight on his collection of 30 pairs of bespoke shoes. "I have decided to put an end to my duties as an advisor to the presidency of the republic... to be entirely free to respond to these attacks," Morelle said.

Hollande admits 'no chance' of re-election without job creation

French President Francois Hollande admitted Friday he has no chance of being re-elected in 2017 if his government fails to meet its promise to stem rising unemployment. "If unemployment does not fall by 2017, I have either no reason to be a candidate or no chance of being re-elected," Hollande said during a lunch with some 20 employees, managers and union activists at a Michelin plant in central France. Hollande's Socialist government has repeatedly promised to reverse rising unemployment since he took office after defeating right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.

Advisor's hand-made shoes give Hollande a new headache

Beleaguered French President Francois Hollande was under pressure Friday to fire one of his closest aides following revelations about his extravagant lifestyle and an alleged conflict of interest. Aquilino Morelle, the head of Hollande's PR operation, maintains a collection of 30 pairs of hand-made shoes at the presidential Elysee Palace which are professionally polished every two months, investigative website Mediapart reported.

Queens of French cinema spar over Hollande

French acting legend Catherine Deneuve has hit out at fellow actress Sophie Marceau after she accused President Francois Hollande of being a cad. Marceau, 47, took the swipe at Hollande in the May issue of the French edition of GQ magazine over Hollande's affair with actress Julie Gayet. "He has mistresses and when that is found out, he refuses to talk about it. A guy who behaves like that with women is a cad," she said.

France's Hollande would lose election vs. Sarkozy, Le Pen: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande would be beaten at the polls by both his center-right predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right rival Marine Le Pen if he ran for re-election this week, an opinion survey showed on Tuesday. Hollande's popularity has plummeted to record lows since he came to power two years ago, with voters increasingly frustrated about his failure to kickstart economic growth and bring down an unemployment rate stuck above 10 percent.

Hollande, Obama share 'concern' over Ukraine violence

Presidents Francois Hollande of France and Barack Obama of the US share the same "concern" over the violence witnessed in east Ukraine over the past few days, the French presidency said in a statement Monday. The two leaders voiced their worry in a telephone conversation in which Hollande expressed hope that a Geneva meeting on Thursday between representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Europe "will start a dialogue" to defuse the situation.

Hollande, Obama share 'concern' over Ukraine violence

Presidents Francois Hollande of France and Barack Obama of the US share the same "concern" over the violence witnessed in east Ukraine over the past few days, the French presidency said in a statement Monday. The two leaders voiced their worry in a telephone conversation in which Hollande expressed hope that a Geneva meeting on Thursday between representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the United States and Europe "will start a dialogue" to defuse the situation.

With one tweet, Hollande's ex puts pressure on Mexico trip

The French leader's jilted ex-girlfriend has stepped back into the limelight with a tweet urging Paris to help a woman who says her Mexican ex-husband abducted their children, just as Francois Hollande visits Mexico. Valerie Trierweiler, a glamorous journalist, had been keeping a low profile since she was dumped by the president earlier this year following revelations he had been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

With one tweet, Hollande's ex puts pressure on Mexico trip

The French leader's jilted ex-girlfriend has stepped back into the limelight with a tweet urging Paris to help a woman who says her Mexican ex-husband abducted their children, just as Francois Hollande visits Mexico. Valerie Trierweiler, a glamorous journalist, had been keeping a low profile since she was dumped by the president earlier this year following revelations he had been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.
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