Islamist clampdown boosts Sarkozy

2012-04-03 21:41

Paris - French President Nicolas Sarkozy edged ahead in polls on Tuesday, capturing votes from the far-right after a crackdown on Islamists boosted his security credentials just ahead of the presidential election.

But Socialist Francois Hollande, his main rival, while losing ground in voting intentions in the first round of voting on April 22, is still set to win the second round of voting in May, according to opinion polls.

Sarkozy, who was at one point France's least popular president, has come from behind to increasingly control the campaign's themes, from security in the wake of last month's al-Qaeda-inspired killings to the economy.

He will formally unveil his manifesto later this week.

The latest Ipsos poll said on Tuesday that Sarkozy had won two percentage points in first-round voter intentions to 29.5%, while far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen dropped two points to 14%.

Hollande was forecast to win 27.5%in the first round, less than Sarkozy, but the poll said Hollande would still comfortably win the run-off on May 6 with 55% to Sarkozy's 45%.

Around 64% of those polled said their minds were already made up, while a poll at the weekend said almost a third of voters were thinking of abstaining in the first round.

Mohamed Merah's shooting spree in and around the southern city Toulouse, in which he murdered seven people, including three Jewish children, allowed Sarkozy to assume his security mantle to guide a shocked nation through a time of crisis.

Anti-extremist

Since then, Sarkozy's ministers have taken a series of measures billed as anti-extremist, refusing entry last week to Islamic preachers wanting to attend a conference and, on Monday, announcing the expulsion of five "radicals".

A series of swoops by anti-terror police on Friday netted 19 alleged Islamists, some of whom planned were planning to carry out kidnappings, including that of a Jewish magistrate in the central city of Lyon, sources told AFP.

The spokesperson for Left Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has surged into third place in the polls, said she was "surprised" at the timing of Friday's arrests, and warned against "rightwing manipulation".

"I must say I'm surprised at the context," Clementine Autain told i-TELE.

"If there were dangerous Islamists before, then obviously they should have been arrested," she said.

The deputy leader of the anti-immigrant National Front, Louis Aliot, lashed out at Sarkozy, questioning the timing of the Islamist expulsions "two weeks ahead of the first round".

Aliot said the fact one of those ordered expelled by Sarkozy's Interior Minister Claude Gueant, an Algerian convicted in connection with 1994 attacks in Morocco's Marrakesh, was allowed to be in France at all was "unacceptable".

Other countries' scum

"Not only do we have to receive all the poor of the world, but on top of that, if I might say, we get all the scum from other countries. That's unacceptable," he told RMC radio.

"The government knew this Algerian was on our soil," Aliot said, but "they wait for the last two weeks, most certainly for a publicity coup".

While Friday's arrests were ordered by magistrates who are independent of the executive, the opposition has criticised the presence of television news cameras during the arrests three weeks ahead of the vote.

The lawyer of alleged Islamist ringleader Mohamed Achamlane said his client strongly denied planning any kidnap and slammed what he said was a political manoeuvre to satisfy "electoral interests".

Benoit Poquet said it would be proven "that the repeated political incursions into this case and the opportunely orchestrated media treatment... had no other ambition than to satisfy electoral interests."

Read more on:    francois hollande  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  france  |  france elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.