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French political controversy bubbles after Guéant's civilisation comments

media UMP ministers walked out of the National Assembly on Tuesday after opposition remarks Reuters/Charles Platiau

France’s political controversy continued Wednesday, following remarks by Interior Minister Claude Guéant that "all civilisations are not equal," on Saturday. Opposition Socialist lawmaker Serge Letchimy has accused the government of professing Nazi ideology.

Budget Minister Valérie Pécresse said the comments would be addressed by the National Assembly on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister François Fillon and other UMP ministers stormed out of parliament following Letchimy’s comments.

UMP ministers continued to defend Guéant, saying that opposition leaders had turned his words around. Christian Jacob, president of the UMP group in the Assembly, continued his push to make an example out of Letchimy by calling for sanctions against him. He called the comments “unacceptable.”

In parliament on Tuesday, Letchimy addressed Guéant, saying, “You bring us back, day after day, to those European ideologies which gave birth to the concentration camps.”

Letchimy continued with, “Mr. Guéant, the Nazi regime, which was so worried about purity, was that a civilisation?”

The controversy began after Guéant addressed a gathering of right-wing students on Saturday, telling them that “contrary to what the left's relativist ideology says, for us all civilisations are not of equal value."

The Left accused Sarkozy’s right-wing UMP party of using hardline speech in an attempt to attract supporters of rival Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party, ahead of the presidential elections in April.


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