Socialist Jack Lang quits party leadership after Sarkozy job offer

11th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 11, 2007 (AFP) - Senior French Socialist Jack Lang said Wednesday he was quitting the party leadership after being asked by rightwing President Nicolas Sarkozy to take part in a high-profile reform commission.

PARIS, July 11, 2007 (AFP) - Senior French Socialist Jack Lang said Wednesday he was quitting the party leadership after being asked by rightwing President Nicolas Sarkozy to take part in a high-profile reform commission.

Lang, a former culture minister and one of France's most popular politicians, is the latest target of Sarkozy's policy of "openness" which has sparked alarm and anger in the plundered ranks of the Socialist Party.

"Today I no longer recognise myself in your leadership methods," Lang said in a letter to party leader Francois Hollande.

The governing body of the party had said on Tuesday it would suspend from the leadership any person who participated in Sarkozy's planned commission on reforming the institutions of government.

Sarkozy asked Lang on Sunday to take part in the commission. Lang said he would consider the offer.

After naming six leftists to his rightwing government in June, Sarkozy made more waves this month by backing Socialist heavyweight Dominique Strauss-Kahn as France's candidate for IMF chief.

The biggest catch in his policy of "openness" was star Socialist Bernard Kouchner, who he named foreign minister.

Appointing opposition members to government has been a rarity in France and Sarkozy has seized upon this to show that he is delivering on his campaign pledge to break from the politics of the past.

The policy has added to the woes of the Socialists, who have been in the throes of bitter infighting since their defeat in May's presidential election and again in parliamentary elections in June.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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