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Veils, Financial Scandal On Paris Agenda

  • July 14th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

burqa-eyes.jpgThe French National Assembly is entering its debate on banning the Islamic full veil this week (13.7.10) with virtually an assured majority … a divisive issue put much on the media back-burner by the latest in the “Bettencourt” scandal threatening the Presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.

BANNING THE VEIL

THE ban on the veil proposed by the Sarkozy government has received broad cross-party support, as a measure to promote dignity, openness and secular values of the French state.

Several opposition Socialist Party MPs have opposed the ban, agreeing  with opponents who fear it will stigmatise a minority and  compromise freedom, saying also that it represents a fear of foreigners and  denies free will on the part of the women concerned.

However the Party has opted to abstain in the vote, conceding to “yes” arguments, particularly from feminist groups who see the veil as oppressive.

The ban will apply to head-to-toe coverings, specifically the niqab (leaving only the eyes clear to see), and the whole-of-body burqa, anywhere in public – attracting an €150 fine, (A$216; xe, 13.7.10).

Much stiffer penalties will apply to men who force women to wear the burqa  — up to €30000 (A$43277) and a year in gaol.

Once passed the legislation will need to be approved by the Senate in September before coming into law.

Other European countries including Belgium have had such bans under consideration.

See also EUAustralia, “France, Belgium: battle over the burqua”, 24.4.10

SARKOZY INNOCENCE PLEA ON TV

No such political cooperation among parties extends to the field of financial scandals.

sarkozy-reduced.jpgPresident Sarkozy (picture) has given a wide-ranging television interview (13.7.10), in part of it renewing his denial of charges that he’d received illegal donations for his political campaigns.

Allegations that the l’Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and her husband, had given large amounts in cash to right wing politicians, extended to Mr Sarkozy in his days as Mayor of Neuilly – the beautiful and exclusive Paris suburb where the pair were his constituents.

The affair was complicated by charges against  the Labour Minister, Eric Woerth, and his wife, over their role as financial advisors or managers to Liliane Bettencourt.

Mr Woerth was cleared of wrong-doing in an inquiry by the national Inspector of Finances, but has had to resign from a senior position in the President’s political party, the UMP – and the Socialist Party is demanding an independent judicial investigation.

Reference
BBC, French MPs poised for ban on veil, 13.7.10, www.bbc.com, (13.7.10).

Liberation.Fr, Paris, “Affaire Woerth … ce qu’a dit Sarkozy“, (Woerth affair … what Sarkozy had to say), 13.7.10; “Sarkozy sur l’affaire Woerth; circulez y a plus rien a voir“, (Sarkozy on Woerth affair, nothing  more to be seen). www.liberation.fr, (13.7.10).

Le Monde, Paris, “M. sarkozy joue la reforme contra ‘la calomnie’ et les affaires”, (Mr Sarkozy plays the game of talking up reform policies, against ‘calumnies’). 13.7.10. www.lemonde.fr, (13.7.10).

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