Chrysoula Zacharopoulou: Newly appointed Greece-born French minister accused of rape

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou

France's newly appointed Secretary of State for Development Chrysoula Zacharopoulou has been accused of rape by two women.

According to French magazine Marianne, the allegations stem from when Greece-born Zacharopoulou worked as a gynaecologist.

One complaint against the 46-year-old was lodged on May 25 and the investigation opened two days later, the prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16.

The minister joined the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in May, having been a member of the European Parliament for the previous three years. She reports to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French president Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou was strongly involved in the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine rollout effort, and has spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to shadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulty for the president after he failed to retain a majority in parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors investigated Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over an allegation for rape filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in January asked for the case to be dropped.

Solidarities minister Damien Abad was also the target of rape allegations in a controversy that erupted last month but French prosecutors have said they were not currently opening an investigation.

The latest claims will be an unwelcome distraction for President Emmanuel Macron as he tries to deal with the bitter blow of his party losing its parliamentary majority at the weekend.

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