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French Interior Minister considers crime prevention, affirmative action after riots

[JURIST] French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official profile], widely seen as a leading candidate to replace President Jacques Chirac in 2007, is calling for new crime prevention legislation and affirmative action policies in the wake of widespread rioting [JURIST report] by immigrant youths earlier this months that prompted the French government to declare a state of emergency [JURIST report]. The new legislation, based on a report commissioned by the Ministry and expected to go before the French cabinet by year's end, would try to root out juvenile delinquency by depriving "negligent" parents of some state support, deploying video cameras in schools and stadiums, policing school absenteeism, sponsoring new community arts and job-hunting centers, and setting up a new ministerial-level national office on crime prevention. On Friday Sarkozy, the leader of the French conservative UMP party [party website], went further in an editorial [in French] in Paris' Le Figaro newspaper, calling for legal equality among French citizens to be matched by real equality, and extolling the virtues of remedial "discrimination positif" - affirmative action - which has to this point been firmly resisted by the French government and advisory groups such as the High Council on Integration [official backgrounder]. AP has more.

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