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'I'm not racist, my friend is blacker than an Arab'

Nicola Hebden · 22 Jun 2012, 10:05

Published: 22 Jun 2012 11:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jun 2012 10:05 GMT+02:00

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Former Secretary of State for Family under Nicolas Sarkozy, Nadine Morano, has been criticised after defending herself against claims she is racist on French television last night.

Morano, 48, tried to bat off the accusations, saying her best friend is “blacker than an Arab”, on the popular debate programme, “C à Vous”, on the channel France 5.

“I find it shocking when people try to make out I’m a racist, even though I have friends who are Arab – of which my best friend is Tchadian, so blacker than an Arab,” she said.

“Do you know who it’s shocking for? My family, who I have to protect. I have children too. In a few days I’m going to have a grandson.

“I don’t want people to trick others into believing that Nadine Morano is a racist, because they know very well it’s not true. This kind of thing does damage, it makes you sick to your stomach,” she added.

Morano, who lost her seat as MP of Meurthe-et-Moselle, in the Lorraine region, last weekend, has made several attempts to reach out to far right voters in recent weeks, including giving an interview in the right wing weekly paper “Minute", and calling on Front National voters to vote UMP because the two parties share the same values.

Elena Casas, the French press reviewer for international news channel France 24 said: “This is really what we’ve come to expect of Morano since before the elections. She’s been saying for a while that the UMP have values in common with right wing party the Front National (FN), and when a French comedian called her for a prank, she admitted she thought Marine Le Pen had talent.

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“The whole incident kind of represents a current of opinion within the UMP – the former defence minister Gérard Longuet said the FN and the UMP should grow closer, and acting president of the UMP, Jean-François Copé, said UMP voters should no more vote for a socialist than they should the FN.

“Obviously what she said on France 5 last night is a lot more embarrassing for the UMP, but not as embarrassing as if an English politician had said it, because we are in France after all.”

Nicola Hebden (news.france@thelocal.com)

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