Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus : Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

"What would you do?"

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Tripoli threatened by out of control blaze

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • US, EU agree on tougher sanctions package against Russia

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

France

‘Extras’ bussed in for Sarkozy publicity stunt

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2012-02-03

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a visit to a social housing building site Thursday to highlight his work on this key election issue - but according to builders at the site, many of the ‘workers’ Sarkozy met on the tour had been bussed in.

Bemused builders on Friday accused President Nicolas Sarkozy’s aides of bussing in fake ‘workers’ to make the embattled French leader look more popular during a visit to a social housing project, according to Europe 1 radio.

The building site, in the Essone administrative region southwest of Paris, is being developed into 130 affordable homes and illustrates a key issue in the run up to the May’s presidential election: the soaring cost of housing in the capital and surrounding area.

And Sarkozy certainly got plenty of attention.

“They wanted the president to be surrounded by as many people as possible,” said one manager, who added that the president’s aides had asked his bosses to double the number of workers present on the day from the usual 60 to 120.

One builder told Europe 1 he suspected that managers of other building firms from across the region had been cajoled into sending their employees along.

'Look busy'

“I recognised people from other sites,” he said, while a colleague added that suppliers, partners, site managers as well as complete strangers seemed to be milling around.
Everyone was told to “look busy”, they said, despite the freezing temperatures that would normally have stopped work.

When pressed by Europe 1, a spokesman for the Elysée Palace did not deny that there had been a supplementary contingent at the site during Thursday’s visit.

However, the spokesman argued that this was to give “everyone who has worked on this site, or might potentially work there in the future, the chance to come along.”

Bizarrely, construction firm 3F said in a statement on Friday that it “categorically denied” that any extras had been drafted in for the presidential visit, insisting that “the regular workforce of 67 was there as well as management staff of other companies involved in the project.”

Sarkozy, who is lagging behind Socialist rival Francois Hollande in the polls, has yet to announce his candidacy for May’s presidential election.

Staying on-message, he told the assembled “workers”, all wearing heavy-duty overalls and hard hats, that “France has no choice but to make housing more affordable for ordinary people.”

But when somebody butted in with the question “so are you going to be a candidate or not?” Sarkozy replied, “Is this on camera or isn't it? I think you get what I mean.”

Date created : 2012-02-03

  • FINANCE

    French bankers back British PM’s Tobin tax jibe

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Critics pound on Sarkozy's plans for French economy

    Read more

  • FRENCH POLITICS

    Sarkozy confession to press sets rumour mill spinning

    Read more

COMMENT(S)