Hollande: 'I'll sack intelligence chiefs if elected president'


France’s Socialist presidential frontrunner, François Hollande, has signalled that he will get rid of the country’s police and domestic intelligence chiefs in a political shake-up if he wins power in May.

Hollande, who holds a narrowing opinion poll lead over conservative incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy, said it was too soon to pass judgment on any surveillance failings in the lead-up to this month’s shootings of Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse and three soldiers in a separate incident, but it was time for a change of faces anyway.

Less than a month from the first round on April 22nd, the left-winger said he had police chief Frédéric Péchenard, a childhood friend of Sarkozy’s, and Bernard Squarcini, head of the DCRI domestic intelligence services, in his sights.

“We’ll obviously be taking a look at the people who’ve been in place for years, with deep political ties to those in power, as people who can legitimately move aside,” Hollande said in an interview on radio channel Europe 1.

Referring to police chief Péchenard, Hollande added: “There’s no reason if I’m elected to get rid of him from one day to the next, but there’s no reason for him to stay all his life either.” – (Reuters)