Who let the dogs … vote?!
Clovis, a lovely brown Shiba Inu from the southern city of Nice, allegedly cast a ballot in France’s right-wing primary last December, which saw Valérie Pécresse elected as Les Républicains’ candidate to contest April’s presidential election.
According to a report from French daily Libération, Clovis — named “Douglas” in the article in an attempt to protect its privacy — was enrolled in the party and registered to vote by his owner.
Libération published a broader investigation on the right-wing party’s membership roll, alleging fraudulent practices aimed at artificially inflating the number of members of Les Républicains. The paper said it found on the party’s list people who do not exist, some who have died, and a number of Chinese immigrants, some of them not fluent in French, who said they joined at the request of community leaders.
According to Libération, the cumulative effect of these tricks, which are not all illegal, “represent at least several hundred voters.”
After the party was hounded Wednesday over the canine gaffe, Les Républicains Senator Philippe Bas made a surreal attempt to defend his party, pleading on TV that “the dog could not vote since the dog can not read.”
Officially, Les Républicains said the newspaper was unfairly picking a bone with the party, adding that the report was an “attempt at destabilization” and that it would sue Libération. Its candidate Pécresse is currently flailing in the polls and was collared in another controversy last week when she made reference at a rally in Paris to an extreme-right conspiracy theory.