Former PM calls security crackdown ‘stain of shame’ on French flag
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent proposals on security and immigration have opened up a can of worms, earning him sharp criticism from both sides of the French political divide.
Following criticism from the Vatican and the UN, a trio of heavyweight French politicians weighed in on the matter with editorials in top French daily Le Monde. Perhaps the fiercest response came from former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who recently squared off against Sarkozy in the closely followed Clearstream trial, and is seen as a possible challenger in the 2012 presidential race (de Villepin launched his own centre-right party earlier this summer).
Villepin writes of ‘national indignity’
"There is today a stain of shame on our flag," de Villepin wrote, referring to Sarkozy’s recent comments linking immigrants to crime and proposing that foreign-born criminals be stripped of French nationality. De Villepin said the president was guilty of "a moral fault, a collective fault committed in all our names, against the republic and against France".
The third editorial in Le Monde was written by former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who alleged that Sarkozy’s crackdown on security obscured the fact that his administration had cut police numbers by more than 9,000 in three years.
Security focus fails to reap political gains
An Ifop poll published August 6 in right leaning newspaper Le Figaro said 79 percent of the French population were in favour of dismantling the camps.
Sarkozy himself enjoyed a small bump in poll numbers after launching the new security initiatives. But a new poll done for left-wing French daily Libération showed Sarkozy's approval rating falling back slightly to 34 percent, his lowest number since his election. The same pollsters found that a majority of French voters, 55 percent, would like to see Sarkozy defeated by a left-wing opponent in the 2012 presidential race.