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France

Sarkozy's approval ratings rise after immigrant crackdown

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-08

A recent poll has shown that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's popularity crept two points higher to 34 percent following a recent highly publicised crackdown on illegal immigrants.

REUTERS - President Nicolas Sarkozy's popularity inched higher after he announced tough new measures against crime and illegal immigration, but more than half of voters say he is still not tackling the country's problems.
 
A poll published on Saturday in daily newspaper Le Parisien showed the percentage of French people who trusted Sarkozy rose to 34 percent in early August, two percentage points higher than the previous month's poll.
 
However, 61 percent of voters said they did not trust the 55-year-old conservative leader, who is widely expected to seek a second five-year term in 2012 despite his weak poll ratings.
 
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, seen as a possible challenger to Sarkozy from within the ruling UMP party, fared better, with 40 percent saying they trusted him while 54 percent did not. Fillon may be replaced in a cabinet reshuffle which the president has announced for October.
 
The telephone poll of 1,002 people was conducted on Aug. 4-5, a week after Sarkozy launched his plans for a security crackdown during a visit to the southeastern city of Grenoble, the scene of mid-July riots sparked by the death of a man of Arab origin who was fleeing from police.
 
A poll published on Thursday showed French people overwhelmingly support the tough new measures proposed by Sarkozy, himself the son of a Hungarian father and French mother of Greek Jewish origin.
 
Thursday's survey said some 89 percent of people favoured Sarkozy's plan to force criminals to wear electronic tags for years after committing a crime, while 70 percent backed an initiative to strip French nationality from people with immigrant roots found guilty of killing a policeman.
 
"I will present proposals before the end of the month for legal measures to implement the withdrawal of nationality from those who kill public officials, practice polygamy or excision (female circumcision)," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said on Saturday.
 
He added that he would consult with Immigration Minister Eric Besson, who has expressed public doubts about the legality of the move.

FIRST BIG ROMA EVICTION

Opposition parties, human rights groups and unions announced this week that they would stage major demonstrations across France on Sept. 4 to protest against the measures, which they say are xenophobic.
 
Critics say the measures are populist steps aimed at diverting attention from a series of recent setbacks for the government, which has been rocked by allegations of illegal political donations from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt as well as last month's riots in two towns.
 
Labour Minister Eric Woerth, the man at the heart of the funding scandal, has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

On Friday, scores of police dismantled an illegal camp of 135 Roma in the central French city of Saint-Etienne, giving them a one-month ultimatum to leave the country.

It was the first high-profile eviction since the government launched a plan in late July to dismantle 300 illegal camps of travellers and Roma, which it says are linked to crime, prostitution and drug trafficking.

Date created : 2010-08-07

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