Socialist expelled from party for racist comments

29th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 27, 2007 (AFP) - France's opposition Socialist party on Saturday expelled a lawmaker for repeatedly making racist remarks that have become an embarrassment for the party less than three months before presidential polls.Georges Freche, head of a southern regional council, has complained there are too many black players on the French football team and insulted as "sub-humans" Algerians who fought on France's side in their country's war of independence.

PARIS, Jan 27, 2007 (AFP) - France's opposition Socialist party on Saturday expelled a lawmaker for repeatedly making racist remarks that have become an embarrassment for the party less than three months before presidential polls.Georges Freche, head of a southern regional council, has complained there are too many black players on the French football team and insulted as "sub-humans" Algerians who fought on France's side in their country's war of independence.

He was fined 15,000 euros (20,000 dollars) on Thursday for the latter comment made at a ceremony last February for colonists forced to flee Algeria after the 1954-1962 war.

A party panel on Saturday expelled Freche, saying his statements were incompatible with Socialist values.

Party leader Francois Hollande had been pushing for the rare sanction, which is more often made for lack of party discipline.

Freche, 68, has been a member of the party, co-founded by the late president Francois Mitterrand in 1971, for more than 30 years.

He had already been suspended for two years from his party functions after his "sub-humans" slur.

The membership issue also became an embarrassment for the Socialists' presidential candidate Segolene Royal who enjoys his support.

Royal had called for his expulsion, branding Freche's statements as "unacceptable and humiliating".

Freche, who has compared the party debate to a "Stalinist trial", earlier warned Royal not to play into the hands of her conservative rival in the April/May election, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

Freche will again stand trial on February 22 for allegedly defaming a public administration after asking, during riots in French suburbs in late 2005, "whether it's not the police ... that are setting cars on fire".

He has no plans of giving up his post as lawmaker and is holding on to the presidency of the Languedoc-Roussillon regional council where the party has expressed its unfailing support.
 
However on Saturday it was seen as unlikely that he will continue to head the regional committee supporting Royal's presidential bid.

Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news, Racism, Socialist party

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