Benalla affair leaves Macron facing the kind of scandal that dogged his predecessors

The French have a name for presidential aides like Alexandre Benalla: les couteaux suisses, or Swiss army knives – loyal lieutenants who perform multiple functions.

In the past, some have occupied a more sinister or, at the very least, less than transparent role as part of a parallel or “black” cabinet. But as Macron came to power in May 2017 pledging to clean up French politics and “moralise” public life, his omnipresent bodyguard seemed more shadow than shadowy.

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