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Socialist leader Aubry slams Sarkozy on law and order

media Friends ... for now - Martine Aubry (L) with Ségolène Royal at the Socialist … AFP

Socialist leader Martine Aubry dubbed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s law and order campaign “a total failure” in a key speech at a party summer school this weekend. The event showed new confidence in the ranks of France’s largest opposition party ahead of presidential elections in 2012.

“Credibility has changed sides,” Aubry declared after widespread condemnation of the recent deportation of Roma and a UN report claiming that racism in France is on the rise.

“The president has chosen polemic, we choose politics,” Aubry told the party faithful. “The government is blowing on cinders, we’re trying to put them out.”

France 24 reports from Socialist summer school

But, despite criticism from rights campaigners at home and abroad, opinion polls show a majority of French people backing the expulsions, so the Socialists plan to launch their own proposals on security in October.

It will include proposals for crime prevention, a law on arms trafficking and the restoration of community policing, which Sarkozy’s government ended, Aubry said.

All French political parties gather their activists together for annual summer schools to prepare for the autumn revival of political life and to lay out their key policies before the press and the public.

With Sarkozy’s personal popularity slumping and following a strong Socialist showing in this year’s regional elections, the party is in better spirits than it has been for years.

Aubry is credited with uniting the party and stamping her authority as leader on its warring factions.

But her expected bid to stand for the presidency on the party’s ticket in 2012 is likely to face opposition from 2007’s unsuccessful candidate, Ségolène Royal, and IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

“The French people should know as from today – we are at their side. We will be there in 2012. We will be ready to build a different France together,” Aubry declared on Sunday.

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