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Marine Le Pen campaining for the municipal elections, 2020. Twitter

Candidate recruits people of  ‘Turkish origin’ for French municipal elections

Given the extent of the controversy, Mohamed Dine has now deleted his ad, previously posted on his Facebook page.

Published: January 15, 2020, 5:21 am

    On Thursday January 9, Mohamed Dine, MoDem candidate in Clichy-sous-Bois, published a very specific announcement on his Facebook account, reported Parisian daily Le Parisien.

    MoDem is the abbreviation for The Democratic Movement [Mouvement démocrate], a French political party characterised by a strong pro-European stance. MoDem was founded by François Bayrou to succeed the Union for French Democracy (UDF). It secured an agreement with En Marche! in the 2017 legislative election after Bayrou endorsed the candidacy of Emmanuel Macron in February.

    Bayrou had to resign from his post as Justice Minister last year after he became embroiled in a fictitious employment scandal, and allegations of harassment against a journalist reporting on the scandal.

    In Dine’s Facebook post for his third municipal campaign, he explains that he is “looking for Turkish men and women” to complete his list in the next elections.

    This call for candidates caused a real outcry, notably by Julien Odoul, president of the RN group at the Burgundy regional council, who accused him of “wanting to communitize” his list suggesting that Dine wanted to form an ethnic community.

    The candidate then decided to withdraw his message, but is surprised at the controversy. He told the daily: “I totally accept what I wrote. If I launch such a call it is because I want to constitute a representative list of the inhabitants of Clichy-sous-Bois,” he said.

    “It’s been 25 years that I have been part of traditional parties, you can’t call me ethno-cultural. I was born in France, I studied in France. I do not deny my origins or those of others. If the abstention rate is very high in a city like Clichy-sous-Bois, it may be because people do not feel sufficiently represented,” he believes, referring to… “affirmative action”.

    Affirmative action – an American term – describes policies that support members of a certain ethnic or racial group that has allegedly suffered discrimination in such areas as education, employment, or housing.

    His opponent Meziane Abdelali, who has sat with him on the municipal council for several years, also defended him. For him, it is above all a “awkwardness” in Dine’s post.

    “The origins of a person do not constitute a selection criterion. But beyond the question of origins, making a call on Facebook is not a very good idea. If you are established locally, you use word-of-mouth to find competent people,” he nevertheless added.

    Deputies of the Republicans party (LR) will propose a law to detect radicalized Islamist candidates in the municipal elections in March. But LREM spokesperson Aurore Bergé believes that it is “absolutely unrealistic” and attacked the party.

    After the proposed law to ban community lists , the LR wants to detect radicalized Islamist candidates in municipal elections. Deputies LR Robin Reda and Alain Ramadier will table a bill incorporating this idea of ​​Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Ile-de-France region.

    The president of the group Republicans in the Assembly, Damien Abad announced on December 3 that he would support this text. But the spokesperson for La République en Marche (LREM), Aurore Bergé denounced the idea: “Many ideas are flowering in the run-up to the municipal elections,” she noted on Cnews on December 4, adding: “[With] 33 000 municipalities in our country, we are going to have hundreds of thousands of lists that will be able to present themselves.”

    Bergé said she was “having trouble understanding how we can have detection, on what criteria will it be established”.

    The majority party, represented by Aurore Bergé, took the opportunity to attack conservatives on the issue of the S-file. “There has always been great confusion, especially among Republicans, on the files: it is not because you are noted as S that you are radicalized or that you are going to act, and they are trying to maintain this vagueness to create confusion, to create fear,” she said.

    “To fight step by step against ethno-culturalism, radicalization, that means having ourselves extremely clear candidates on our values ​​and the Republic”, she concluded.

    Pécresse , president of the Ile-de-France region had expressed her wish that a law could make radicalized Islamist candidates for municipal elections ineligible. “I consider, from the beginning, that the main and very serious threat hanging over the municipal elections is that of entry on the lists of radicalized Islamist candidates, and worse, the running of a list by a radicalized Islamist person, who would be in a position to become mayor of his commune,” she explained at the end of November.

    On November 19, Emmanuel Macron spoke out on the matter. “It is not a question of proclaiming the ban to resolve the problem,” he said, stressing the difficulty of identifying them. “A subject came up: that of community lists […] how would we define community lists? Who would be the judge? By what criteria?” he had argued. “Who believes, moreover, that such lists will appear openly, spontaneously and clearly?”

    At least 34 municipalities in Occitania could fall into the hands of the National Rally soon. In the last municipal elections, Marine Le Pen’s party had won only one small town in the entire region.

    But Occitania could be hit by a RN wave next March. According to an investigation by same daily, Marine Le Pen’s party could win around thirty municipalities in this region.

    By comparison, there was only one small town in 2014, Beaucaire (Gard), that voted for the RN if we do not take into account Béziers (Hérault), whose mayor Robert Ménard is not officially part of the RN, although he is conservative.

    It is impossible to accurately predict the election results, but the National Rally would not be unrealistic to hope for 34 municipalities in Occitania. In certain cases, the party will count on the fact that the outgoing mayor will not be up for re-election, as in Limoux (Aude), Pia (Pyrénées-Orientales) or Moissac (Tarn-et-Garonne).

    In others, it could benefit from local divisions, as in Lunel (Hérault) or Trèbes (Aude). “The RN is often helped by the weaknesses of his opponent”, remarked political scientist Jérôme Fouquet to the daily.

    Indeed, in 2014, all the cities won by Marine Le Pen, with the exception of Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais) were won in the second round in a triangular or quadrangular stand-off.

    The RN also does not hesitate to appear on “opening lists”, as in Frontignan (Hérault). The example of Robert Ménard is also telling. Since his conquest of Béziers, supporters of the mayor have conquered three cantons, won the legislative elections.

    This “flood strategy” poses a problem for the left, which has historically been in place in the region. The RN also repeated it in Beaucaire.

    “At the start of the mandate, the residents of Beaucaire came to see the mayor to talk about security and schools. Today, they talk about cleanliness and economic development, which require inter-municipal skills, ” explains Yoanne Gillet, departmental secretary of the RN in the Gard.

    It is the same story on the Pyrenees-Orientales side. “If we win Perpignan, we will go for the agglomeration. Louis Aliot will propose to the mayors a consensual management contract in the local interest,” explained the regional councilor RN Xavier Baudry.

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