France's green party leader resigns over accusations of domestic abuse

REUTERS - RALI BENALLOU

The leader of France's EELV Green party Julien Bayou has resigned over allegations of domestic abuse by a former partner.

Julien Bayou announced this Monday that he has resigned from all of his functions as leader of France's Green party, saying he has been "trapped in an untenable situation" from which he maintains he cannot defend himself.

In a statement, Bayou said: "I announced this morning to members of Europe Ecologie les Verts [EELV] my resignation from my position as National Secretary."

He added that he will tell his parliamentary group later today of his "resignation from the presidency of the Green group at the National Assembly" – a position from which he was already suspended for several days.

Bayou says he stands "accused of facts that have not been presented to him, which [his] accusers say are not criminally reprehensible" and which he cannot defend himself against "because they refuse to hear me."

Facts behind the allegations 'unclear'

He however stressed that his decision to resign as EELV party leader "does not call into question" either his mandate as a deputy or his "present and future commitment" to politics.

The resignation comes amid accusations of moral harassment and psychological violence by a former girlfriend.

However, the facts of the case are not clearly known, no complaint has been filed with the police and no judicial investigation has been opened.

The affair came to light in July, when an internal EELV unit on sexual violence and harassment was informed of a report concerning him.

France's far-left under pressure

But it took a new turn last week when MP Sandrine Rousseau accused him of "behaviour likely to break the moral health of women."

The ecofeminist also maintained that several women have been affected by Bayou's behaviour.

On Sunday, former green presidential candidate Yannick Jadot said on French television that it would be best for Bayou to "accelerate his withdrawal" from the national secretariat of the EELV.

His resignation follows in the wake of far-left deputy Adrien Quatennens' recent admission to domestic violence against a former girlfriend.

Quatennen's France Unbowed party has come under fire for it's handling of the revelations, with critics accusing the party leadership of trivialising domestic abuse.