French MPs request impeachment of President Hollande

François Hollande

François Hollande

Dozens of French opposition lawmakers late on Thursday formally requested an impeachmeant of President François Hollande over his disclosure of classified information to journalists for a tell-all book.

The head of France’s National Assembly confirmed that he had transferred a copy of the impeachment request signed by 79 opposition MPs to the executive branch.

The request, which in part of the French constitution’s Article 68, faces several political and legal obstacles. Furthermore, it’s a long shot and does not appear to have been taken seriously by the president or the Socialist party.

Article 68 states that “the President of the Republic shall not be removed from office during the term thereof on any grounds other than a breach of his duties patently incompatible with his continuing in office. Such removal from office shall be proclaimed by Parliament sitting as the High Court”.

The impeachment motion was launched by Pierre Lellouche, a member of the right-wing party Les Républicains (LR), after the publication of a book, “A President Shouldn’t Say That”, in which Hollande openly discussed state secrets such as details of plans for an air strike on Syria in 2013, or paying ransom for abducted French journalists.

“[The impeachment procedure] expresses our deep conviction that a president must not and cannot have the right to say just anything regarding his role as head of state and head of the military”, said a communiqué from the LR party.

The Socialist president granted a staggering 61 private interviews with Le Monde journalists Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhommehim over the course of four years for the now infamous book, and even waved any rights to review or edit the book.

The impeachment request comes as Hollande faces a barrage of criticism from within his own camp. Alarmed by the sitting president’s abysmal approval ratings, several leaders of the Socialist party have publicly urged Hollande to step aside and not run in next year’s presidential election.