Mitterand's brother says he "could have been saved"


AS FINAL arrangements were made for Francois Mitterrand's funeral today a series of controversies broke out.

His brother, Robert, has told French television that Mr Mitterrand "could have been saved" if specialists had been brought in from abroad, but his own doctors refused.

The chief cancer specialist at a major Paris hospital backed up criticism of the use of alternative medicine, saying Mr Mitterrand had been treated by "charlatans with magic powders". Other family members, including Mr Mitterrand's widow, Danielle, said they had nothing but praise for the doctors.

Reports circulated yesterday that Mr Mitterrand's first presidential medical examination showed that he was already suffering from cancer. The pressure on Mr Chirac to publish results of his medical tests will now be very strong.

The adulatory treatment of Mr Mitterrand and his memory has met criticism from some Gaullists and from many ordinary French people, who think the beatification has gone too far.