- Title: FRANCE: Voters in poor suburb of Paris expect new president to tackle violence
- Date: 24th April 2007
- Summary: BANNER READING "VOTING IS EXISTING" AC LE FEU ASSOCIATION SPOKESMAN SAMIR MIHI TAKING DOWN BANNER (SOUNDBITE) (French) AC LE FEU ASSOCIATION SPOKESMAN SAMIR MIHI SAYING: "When you've got a very low turnout, the others think: 'Anyway, it's no use, nobody else is going to vote, I'm not going either'. But this time, 85 percent of them went to vote. I think this will continue to mobilise people and now they know they're not alone any more and we hope they will keep on voting because the parliamentary election is in a month and a half."
- Embargoed: 9th May 2007 11:07
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5BVDEDF1ER6HNX19QEM5KHLYC
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Residents of Clichy-sous-Bois, a volatile Paris suburb that was at the centre of youth riots in 2005, await new policies on suburban unrest after a new president is elected in the second round of elections in May.
Residents of Clichy-sous-Bois, a poor Paris suburb where youth riots broke out in 2005, on Monday (April 23) expressed varying opinions about conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy's win in the first round of French presidential election the previous day.
The town's voters turned out in high numbers on Sunday to give overwhelming support to Socialist candidate Segolene Royal who will face Sarkozy, the former interior minister, in the second round of the election on May 6.
Not all residents were in favour of Royal as France's next president. Resident Mickael Faure said he preferred Sarkozy, saying he believed the conservative candidate would deal with local unrest.
"I am very satisfied about Mr. Sarkozy's result yesterday in the election and I hope he's going to go through to the second round," he told Reuters.
"Why? When you see how people here in Clichy-sous-Bois are sick of it -- the riots, the mess and the mayor, Mr Dilain, leading his town like this, then I am happy if Mr Sarkozy goes through."
Other residents in the volatile Paris suburb, which has a high immigrant population, fear a Sarkozy victory could spark another round of unrest similar to the one that broke out in 2005.
Resident Gilles van Beveran said: "Yes, I think that if Nicolas Sarkozy wins there might be, and I really just mean there might be, a civil war. I am afraid to see another November 2005 happening on the night of May 6th."
Voter registration in Clichy-sous-Bois increased after the riots. Several organisations were set up to encourage young people to express themselves in the presidential elections rather than through violence.
Samir Mihi works for the Association for Liberty Equality Fraternity Together United (ACLEFEU), which was set up to help local youths.
He said: "When you've got a very low turnout, the others think: 'Anyway, it's no use, nobody else is going to vote, I'm not going either'. But this time, 85 percent of them went to vote. I think this will continue to mobilise people and now they know they're not alone any more and we hope they will keep on voting because the parliamentary election is in a month and a half."
Claude Dilain, the Socialist mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, said most residents wanted the new president to tackle the causes of suburban unrest.
He said: "Clichy residents demand a change. They understand that the suburban crisis is not going to be solved like this, it is a serious issue with economic, social, cultural and education interaction. So, they understand that it takes time.
"But what they wish to hear from society and, of course, the new president will be in the best position to do that, is to be certain that French society can be strongly committed to solving the problem and to get rid of the ghettos it created."
Royal's score of 41.6 percent in Clichy-sous-Bois was one of her highest in the Paris region as voters sent a message that they did not want Sarkozy, who was the overall winner nationally, to become the next president.
Royal scored 25.9 percent overall on Sunday, trailing Sarkozy's 31.2 percent of the vote.
Many residents of poor suburbs have been angered by Sarkozy's tough line on immigration and security combined with his heavy handed approach to the rioters.
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