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Court Says Miss France Keeps Crown

June 29, 1999

PARIS (AP) _ The real Miss France is Mareva Galanter, a Paris court ruled Tuesday, rejecting claims that she got the crown through a rigged vote.

Galanter, who was Miss Tahiti 1998, was crowned Miss France on Dec. 11. Since then, her reign has been marred by allegations that she won the contest because she is the granddaughter of the hat maker of the woman who heads the Miss France Committee.

The National Association for Transparency in the Miss France National Election waged a campaign to have Miss France dethroned.

The association contends that the winner should have been Amelie Rudler, Miss Berri 1998, because she received the most spectator votes during the election.

However, Judge Marie-Claude Domb ruled that the vote was not rigged, condoning the practice that gives the jury two-thirds of the voice in the election and television viewers one-third.

During a court hearing last week, the association was able to substantiate that Galanter is, indeed, the granddaughter of the hat maker of Genevieve de Fontenay, who presides over the Miss France Committee.

The association had less success with its allegation of a family tie between Galanter and the mother-in-law of famed French singer Sacha Distel, who headed the jury.

Even if there were proof of a family tie to Distel, the judge said, it would not have altered the sincerity of the vote.

As for ties to the hat maker, Mrs. de Fontenay said in an interview last week on France 3 television that she got nothing in return for Galanter’s crowning.

``I didn’t even get a free hat,″ she said.

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