News Agencies – December 14, 2011
Rachida Dati, the first Muslim woman of North African origin to hold a senior French government post, focused a public complaint against the prime minister, François Fillon, in whose cabinet she served as justice minister. Fillon, she wrote in a scathing letter to Le Monde, represented a staid political elite that “never favoured women” and stopping ethnic-minority candidates from running for election.
Dati said she had a “duty of resistance” against the “lone ambition of the powerful”. The ferocious language stems from a row over who will run for a safe Right-wing parliamentary seat representing the affluent 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements on Paris’s Left bank.
Today, President Sarkozy appointed his former spokeswoman Rachida Dati as the new Minister of Justice. Ms. Dati is from a Moroccan Algerian family with twelve children. She was Sarkozy’s spokeswoman during the Sarkozy’s election campaign. When questioned about her future role in the integration question with the Minister of the Interior, she cast Sarkozy as someone distinct from the Right. Here, she said, Arabs are not alone in seeing to their needs. Nicolas, she added, embodies best the refusal to let one’s birth determine their future. Minister Dati, at age 41, is the youngest high ranking official since John Hume. She will be taking over the position from Pascal Clement, criticized for his lack of political weight and unwillingness to work the system. Her lack of political experience may be an asset since she will not be bound by a pre-established reputation.