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French police launch investigation into photo of Macron in swimming trunks

French police are investigating a photographer for violation of privacy over a picture showing President Emmanuel Macron in swimming trunks on holiday in the Mediterranean, prosecutors confirmed to AFP.

French police launch investigation into photo of Macron in swimming trunks
The pictures were taken at the French presidential holiday home at Bregancon. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

“An investigation is under way,” the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Sunday evening, confirming a report by Europe 1 radio.

The picture was one of a set of paparazzi shots published by the Voici gossip magazine in August 2020 that reportedly angered the 43-year-old president.

Some showed Macron, who was holidaying at the Bregancon fort belonging to  the French state on the French Riviera, relaxing with his wife Brigitte and other family members on a boat in his swimming trunks.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED How strict are France’s privacy laws

Others showed him riding a jet ski, bare-chested but for a life jacket.

One of the jet ski pictures was later included in an exhibition of shots of French presidents on holiday hosted by a Parisian art gallery.

Macron’s office refused to comment on the affair, but Europe 1 said he and Brigitte had filed a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy.

The photographer behind the shots, Thibault Daliphard, told AFP he had been summoned to appear at a police station near his home in southern France on Tuesday. Europe 1 said the gallery owner had already been questioned.

Daliphard said he was “surprised” at Macron’s reaction, saying the jet ski picture showed “a young, dynamic president who looks almost Kennedy-esque” and was, therefore, flattering.

He noted that past French leaders had often posed for photographs on holiday at Bregancon fort, beginning with Charles Pompidou and Valery Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s.

But while later presidents, including Macron, continued the tradition, paparazzi photographers have staged ever bolder attempts to snap them in private moments.

Both Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande and their partners were also photographed without their knowledge in their swimming trunks in the azure waters lapping at the foot of the fort.

To avoid the long lens of the paparazzi, Macron had the fort endowed with a pool, at a cost of €34,000, but he later admitted that he preferred the sea.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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