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Politicians are 'mostly corrupt'

Poll finds 64% of people do not trust politicians with public money - as two ministers quit in row over spending

MORE than six out of ten French people believe their country's politicians are "mostly corrupt", a new poll has revealed.

The Viavoice survey for Libération found 64% did not trust the political classes to honestly use public money.

The percentage has increased over the years, from 38% in 1977 to 46% in 1990 and 58% in 2002.

The results came as two ministers within the Sarkozy government resigned in rows over perks and the use of public money.

Christian Blanc, the minister in charge of the future development of Paris, was revealed by the Journal du Dimanche to have spent €12,000 of taxpayers' money on cigars.

The paper also revealed that International Development Secretary Alain Joyandet spent €116,500 on a private plane to take him to the Caribbean for a meeting to discuss the Haiti earthquake.

The Community party said the two resignations were a "smokescreen" designed to take attention away from the situation of Employment Minister Eric Woerth.

Woerth is accused of a conflict of interest after it emerged that his wife provided tax avoidance advice to France's richest women, L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, while he was working as Budget Minister.

He denies any wrongdoing. Some 60% of respondents in the Viavoice poll said his behaviour was "shocking".

The government has been the subject of a series of embarrassing stories about its use of public money in recent weeks. Nicolas Sarkozy several cutbacks on ministers' perks last week, including the sale of thousands of official cars and apartments and stricter limits on air travel.

Related story:
Sarkozy targets excessive spending

Photo:Christian Blanc used €12,000 of taxpayers' money on cigars. Photo: David Monniaux

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