French presidential aide quits as Benalla scandal deepens
CGTN

President Emmanuel Macron's special adviser Ismael Emelien joined a wave of departures from the Elysee as the French leader struggles to rebuild his popularity, sapped by “yellow vest” protests and a scandal surrounding his former security chief.

Emelien, one of Macron's most loyal aides, said on Monday he would leave in late March or early April, while affirming that his departure was unrelated to the so-called Benalla affair.

A protestor wears a mask of Alexandre Benalla, a former Elysee senior security officer, during a demonstration called by the "Yellow Vests" (Gilets Jaunes) movement in Nantes, western France, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

A protestor wears a mask of Alexandre Benalla, a former Elysee senior security officer, during a demonstration called by the "Yellow Vests" (Gilets Jaunes) movement in Nantes, western France, February 2, 2019. /VCG Photo

Alexandre Benalla, the former security adviser, was eventually sacked after footage emerged of him beating demonstrators last May, but the affair left lingering suspicions of an attempted cover-up.

The outcry intensified after it emerged that Benalla had continued to travel on diplomatic passports after he was fired. In a recording taped after his sacking and published last month, Benalla was also heard discussing the support he continued to enjoy from administration figures, including Emelien.

Emelien's exit follows those of Macron's communications advisors Sylvain Fort and Barbara Frugier, and political strategist Stephane Sejourne.

(Top image: Ismael Emelien (R), special adviser of French president Emmanuel Macron, in a street of Paris, May 13, 2017. /VCG Photo )

Source(s): Reuters