07/26/2013 10:46 am ET Updated Jul 26, 2013

French Can Now Insult Their President

Not so pleased with François Hollande? You'll be happy to know that you if you're French, you can now insult the French president without incurring a fine.

The BBC reports that the country's parliament has amended legislation dating back to the 1880s that defined insulting the French head of state as a criminal offense.

The vote was the result of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, in a case in which France had fined a man who had told former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to "get lost."

In 2008, activist Hervé Eon held up a sign with the now famous words "casse-toi, pov'con" when Sarkozy drove through the town of Laval, the Guardian reports. The phrase loosely translates as "get lost, you prick" and it happened to be the exact words Sarkozy had snarked to a man who refused to shake his hand during a visit to an agricultural fare, the newspaper notes.

In the wake of the incident, Eon was ordered to pay a symbolic fine of 30 euros, according to The Local. The European court in Strasbourgh, however, deemed the punishment "disproportionate" and said the country had violated Eon's freedom of expression.

NPR notes that the amendment is good news for Sarkozy himself: "He apparently called his successor, President Francois Hollande, a 'ridiculous little fat man who dyes his hair,'" the network writes.



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