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October 13, 2009

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Mitterrand should stay, say French

A NEW poll shows strong support for French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand despite calls that he resign because of a controversy over a book he wrote describing paying young men for sex in Thailand.
The poll released yesterday by the BVA Institute shows that 67 percent of those questioned do not want Mitterrand, the nephew of late President Francois Mitterrand, to step down. Only 20 percent of respondents say they want Mitterrand to resign.
Mitterrand went on national television on Thursday to defend his honor after a leader of the far-right National Front party went on television to read excepts from Mitterrand's four-year-old book.
He spoke out against sex tourism, although he acknowledged having paid males for sex. He denied being involved in pedophilia.
"I condemn sexual tourism, which is a disgrace," he said. "I condemn pedophilia, which I have never in any way participated in."
The poll was conducted by telephone last week among 1,005 people over age 15 in France.
Members of President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative government have defended Mitterrand against attacks from extreme-right politicians and from the Socialist Party.
"The Mitterrand affair is over," Xavier Darcos, the secretary general of the ruling UMP party was quoted as saying in an interview published yesterday in Le Parisien newspaper.
"Frederic Mitterrand said things in a strong and clear manner," Darcos said.


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