A French lawmaker resigned as National Assembly vice-president on Monday after being accused of sexual harassment by fellow politicians, a rare development in a country where such disputes are usually kept under wraps.
Denis Baupin, who did not surrender his seat as an elected member of the lower house of parliament, rejected the accusations in a statement published on his website.
“Following the accusations in the media, Mr Denis Baupin wants to stress … that these are defamatory and baseless lies,” the statement said, adding he had resigned to protect the reputation of parliament and to defend himself.
Baupin is the husband of Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse. He recently left the pro-environment Greens party over disagreements about strategy.
He came under sudden pressure to resign after female party officials and lawmakers went on the record on Monday in French media to level accusations at him.
Sandrine Rousseau, a Green party spokeswoman, told France Inter radio and Mediapart online media, which first revealed the case, that one day in October 2011, “he pressed me against the wall, holding my breasts and tried to kiss me.”
Lawmaker Isabelle Attard said: “It was an almost daily harassment with provocative, salacious text messages.”
In France, accusations of sexual harassment by politicians rarely come out in the open.