Muslims Fare Poorly in Recent French Municipal Elections

Arab and Muslim candidates fared poorly in the first round of French municipal elections, with only one elected to a local office and few others with opportunity in the second round of voting. Running on the Socialist slate, Samia Ghali won District 8 in Marseille, the country’s second largest city. Ghali became the first Muslim among France’s 36 000 municipal leaders. Justice minister Rachida Dati, of Moroccan origin, faces stiff challenge from her Socialist rival in the 7th District of Paris. Other candidates, Socialist Karim Bougoma and Razi Hamadi of the Rassemblement Pour R_publique have little to no chance of winning a seat, winning only 26.11 and 17.63 of the votes in the first round. In the country more generally, president Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) conceded more ground to the rival Socialists.