Ministers horrified after actress is chosen for France's top honour
Mexican actress Salma Hayek is set to be honoured with French honour Legion d'Honneur. According to the French President Nicholas Sarkozy's official New Year's list, Hayek will receive a formal induction.
However, it led to one former minister refusing the same award, with others suggesting the 45-year-old's new status would see Napoleon Bonaparte 'turning in his grave'.
President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that she will become a Chevalier -- or Knight -- of the Legion of Honour for her services to the French Republic.
It is not yet clear what those services are. Hayek is married to businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, who happens to be a close personal friend of Sarkozy.
Referring to Sarkozy possibly losing a presidential election, political magazine Marianne ran the headline: 'Last distribution of the gongs before leaving!'
It suggested that Sarkozy's list of recipients was 'another occasion to have fun' with people reacting to it with 'surprise and anger'.
They included Henri Torre, the 78-year-old former minister and member of Sarkozy's ruling UMP party, who turned down a Legion of Honour, saying, "Too many people were nominated who do not deserve to be honoured," adding that the awards had 'lost their value'.