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Liar, liar, pants on fire

23 January 20170 comments

There’s the old joke about how you tell when politician is lying – its’ when his lips are moving.

But for the mayor of Beziers, a city in southern France, it’s no joke.

Mayor Robert Menard has been chosen as France’s “political liar of the year” by a panel of journalists.

M Menard won the dubious distinction for “his incredible consistency in lying when talking about immigration,” organisers of the award said.

‘Le prix du menteur en politique’ (The prize of political liar of the year) is awarded to a French politician thought by organisers to be the least truthful.

Previous winners include National Front leader Marine Le Pen (2015) and former President Nicolas Sarkozy (2014).

M Menard has courted controversy for anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim outbursts.

Prize organisers accused him of “manipulating figures” on immigration and asylum seekers in his city.

Last October, Menard put up anti-migrant posters and called for a local referendum on whether to accept asylum seekers in his city.

The posters contained an image of a crowd of migrants, all of them men, outside the city’s cathedral, under the caption: ‘That’s it, they’re coming’.

M Menard has also been charged under French law with incitement to hatred or discrimination after he described the number of Muslim students in his city as a “problem” and will stand trial in March.

The prize was created in 2015 by French political scientist Thomas Guenole.

Organisers say it aims to “incite the political class to lie less and encourage the general public to check political speeches”.

The jury, chaired by Guenole, is composed of eight journalists specialised in political fact checking.

US President Donald Trump, the sole nominee in the “best political liar abroad” category, was chosen for “all of his work”.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist