Sarkozy intervenes in row 'over parents-in-law's septic tank'

Nicolas Sarkozy

In yet another public display of love for Carla Bruni, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is said to have intervened in a row over her parents' septic tank, by removing the prefect of the region where they reside for the official's failure in resolving the dispute.

Sarkozy signed an order to remove Jacques Laisné, the prefect of the Var region who has been given no new posting after he failed to end the long-running row in Cap Nègre, the region where Carla Bruni's parents own a chateau, British newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' reported. Sarkozy's parents-in-law have been locked in a dispute with locals on the Riviera since 2003 over removing individual septic tank in favour of costly, but less smelly centralized communal sewerage system.

In August last year, between a trip to Russia to resolve its dispute with Georgia and another to visit French troops in Afghanistan, Sarkozy caused a sensation by turning up to an owners' meeting on the issue with his mother-in-law, Marisa Bruni. Most of the 58 owners concerned said they were not prepared to pay for the new set-up, but Sarkozy, speaking on behalf of his mother-in-law, promised that the state would come up with the required funds.

A second meeting at the Bruni-Tedeschi chateau, in the presence of the prefect, appeared to seal the deal. However, with the summer holidays fast-approaching, the sewerage system has still not been changed. According to Jacques Huetz, who wants to keep the septic tank system, the prefect had changed his mind on the issue. "The prefect had changed his view to one that was much more favourable to us, and clearly less under Mr Sarkozy's orders," he was quoted as telling 'Mediapart' news website. Neither the Elysée Palace nor French Interior Ministry were available for comment.

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