UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has carefully flirted with the far-right to ensure that his votes are not sucked away by the ever present (and ominous) Jean-Marie Le Pen. Yet over the past few weeks, and especially now after a spontaneous riot at the Gare du Nord station in Paris, Sarkozy has upped the ante, and is now securely lodged in the anti-immigrant position.
"What exasperates France?" Mr Sarkozy asked at a news conference on Monday. "France is exasperated by the dispute about national identity, by uncontrolled immigration, by fraud, by waste".
He said there was "an obvious link between 30 or 40 years of a policy of uncontrolled immigration and the social explosion in French cities".
Sarkozy also denounced the "hysteria" of Segolene Royal for criticizing his proposal to create a ministry of immigration and national identity. Royal responded in turn:
"contemptuous, shocking and humiliating...Does that mean that if Mr Sarkozy were elected tomorrow he would start insulting the other heads of state and government who disagree with him?"
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