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'I'm in charge': Macron says he bears responsibility for 'Benallagate' scandal

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'I'm in charge': Macron says he bears responsibility for 'Benallagate' scandal
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) walking ahead of then top security aide Alexandre Benalla at the end of the Bastille Day military parade in Paris. Photo: AFP
08:45 CEST+02:00
French President Emmanuel Macron told lawmakers in his party Tuesday that he "in charge" in the scandal surrounding a top security aide, Alexandre Benalla, filmed manhandling May Day protesters and that he considered the acts "a betrayal".
"If they want to know who's in charge, he is standing before you... I answer to the French people," said Macron -- who has been criticised by the opposition for his silence in the affair -- according to lawmakers present at a gathering marking the end of parliamentary session. 
   
"If  they are looking for the person in charge, the only person, it's me and me alone," Macron went on to say.
 
"I am the one who trusted Alexandre Benalla," he said, according to lawmakers, adding that Benalla had been a supporter during his campaign but that he felt "the acts on May 1st were like a disappointment or betrayal."
   
The scandal, dubbed "Benallagate", has prompted furious opposition claims of an attempted cover-up, which the government denies.
 
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Do you understand why 'Benallagate' is the biggest crisis Macron has faced?President Emmanuel Macron and his ex-security aide Alexandre Benalla. AFP     

Macron has so far refused to speak to the public on the worst scandal to hit his government since he was elected in May promising to restore integrity to French politics.
   
His silence appears to have dented his ratings, with 60 percent reporting an unfavourable opinion in an Ipsos poll published Tuesday -- a record low for the 40-year-old centrist.
 
An Elabe poll found 80 percent were "shocked" by the scandal, with 75 percent urging Macron to break his silence.
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