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Monday, 21 March 2011

Marine Le Pen offers interior minister "honorary membership" of the far-right Front National

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National (FN) in France has jokingly offered the recently-appointed French interior minister, Claude Guéant, honorary membership of her party.

She was reacting to a comment he made on national radio last Thursday morning in which he suggested that the French were becoming worried about not feeling at home in their own country.

French interior minister Claude Guéant (screenshot from Europe 1 interview)

He has only been in the job since the end of February, but already the French interior minister Claude Guéant has well and truly made his mark on where he stands in terms of statements guaranteed to raise the heckles of the opposition Socialist party and promote claims that the political agenda in France is increasingly being dictated the FN.

Interviewed on Europe 1 radio on Thursday, Claude Guéant uttered a sentence which annoyed many in the opposition Socialist party, worried some in his own centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) party and amused the leader of the far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen.

The phrase came as he was being asked about an interview he had given the national daily Le Monde published in Thursday's edition in which he had said, "The French want France to remain France."

"What exactly did you mean by that?" he was asked by Europe 1's seasoned political journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach.

"It means quite simply that the French - because of uncontrolled immigration - sometimes have the feeling that they're no longer at home," he said.

And then continued, "They see practices and customs imposed on them and which do not necessarily match the rules of our way of life."

It was a comment that brought a swift reaction from the leader of the Socialist party, Martine Aubry, who accused the interior minister of "mocking the values ​​of the republic " by "speaking about the risks of 'uncontrolled immigration'."

The prime minister, François Fillion, meanwhile avoided being drawn on Guéant's comments.

"I don't attach too much importance to a turn of phrase, " he said in an interview on France 2's prime time evening news later in the day, insisting that illegal immigration was an issue the government was addressing because it "prevented integration and infuriated citizens,"

If Fillon preferred not to respond there were others within his party more than willing to air their opinions and demonstrating at the same time, divisions that exist.

"It's intolerable and illustrates that there's a 'Le Pen-isation'among some in power," said UMP parliamentarian Jean-Pierre Grand from the southern French city of Montpellier.

While for his colleague Eric Ciotti from the southeastern city of Nice, what Guéant had said had "a certain ring of truth and represented what many people are saying in our town, cities and villages."

And Le Pen in all of this? Well she told LCI television - not without some irony - that Guéant could be, "An honorary member of the Front National" before going into attack mode and challenging the interior minister to say what exactly the government was going to do about the "threat of increased illegal immigration."

"Depuis le temps qu'ils le disent, qu'ils le... par Europe1fr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This man is dangerous: first he said French people felt threaten by the immegrant population, then he talked about a "crusade" to fight Khadafi in Libya. Sarkozy should fire him before he makes any more blunders.

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