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Former minister Dati loses perks after annoying Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was evidently not amused when his former Justice Minister Rachida Dati spoke on national television to comment on Sarkozy’s UMP party’s poor showing in regional elections as his reaction was swift.

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AFP - France's ex-justice minister Rachida Dati has lost her chauffeur-driven limousine and bodyguards after annoying President Nicolas Sarkozy with a recent TV appearance, reports said Wednesday.

Dati, who fell out of favour with Sarkozy last year and now serves as a member of the European parliament, turned up on national television this month to comment on regional elections in which Sarkozy's party was roundly defeated.

After spotting Dati on the screen and complaining that she had been absent from the campaign trail, Sarkozy called the head of national police and asked that she be stripped of her limousine, chauffeur and security detail, the Canard Enchaine satirical weekly reported.

Aides to Dati confirmed some aspects of the report.

"We are talking essentially about three police officers who were told to end their assignment on March 14", the night that Dati went on television, said the official.

"It's not clear that it was a decision taken by the president," he said. "What is certain is that it was a decision by the interior minister."

The interior ministry said former ministers are allowed to keep their limousines and security detail for six months after they leave the government and that Dati's time had expired.

The 44-year-old Dati became the first French Arab woman to hold a powerful post in government when she was named justice minister in 2007 after Sarkozy's election.

A fixture of celebrity magazines, Dati has recently been seen once again in Sarkozy's entourage, fuelling speculation that she could return from political exile in the Strasbourg assembly.
 

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