Photo: AP/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Desperate times call for desperate measures.French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of bussing in ‘workers’ to show his popularity when he visited a busy social housing building site on Thursday to talk about affordable housing, Europe 1 reports.
What’s more most of the additional workers were black, fueling speculation that Sarkozy is trying to make himself look inclusive, after claims that he is solely interested in the rich.
“The idea was to make him look popular and inclusive – to make out that he has friends who are black, working men,” one site manager said, The Daily Mail reports. Another said he suspected other managers from across the region had been told to send their employees as well.
“I recognised people from other sites,” he said, while a colleague added that even complete strangers seemed to present in overalls and hard hats.
Everyone was told to “look busy”, they said, despite the extreme cold that would normally have stopped work, and the place was deserted shortly after Mr Sarkozy’s departure, according to The Telegraph.
The site, in the Essone region southwest of Paris, is being developed into 130 affordable homes.
A spokesman for the Elysée Palace said the additional workers had been brought in to give “everyone who has worked on this site, or might potentially work there in the future, the chance to come along.” However, he said the deliberate inclusion of black workers to gain electoral mileage was “political lies”.
But construction firm 3F “categorically denied” the presence of any extras for the presidential visit.
As can be expected, Sarkozy’s rivals had a field day with the revelations. Claude Bartolone, a local Socialist MP, said the President should receive a “best director Oscar” for organising such impressive photographs, while the National Front said: “The workers are abandoning him, extras will have to do.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.