From The Periscope Post:
Commentators are saying that questions of multiculturalism, integration, immigration and social cohesion have never been more relevant; many note that it must not be forgotten that communities should be involved, not alienated. The effect on French politics seems to have been that President Nicolas Sarkozy, up for re-election in May, is resurgent; others say that far right politicians such as Marine Le Pen will now be able to take the stage.
Though offered negotiations, Merah “wanted to go down in a hail of bullets. He got his final wish.” (The Guardian)
With the candidate of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, calling for a “war on these fundamentalist political religious groups who are killing our children,” it was easy for President Nicolas Sarkozy to take the high road in the sharp political reaction to the terrorist acts of Mohammed Merah, who was killed by the police on Thursday in Toulouse after himself claiming responsibility for killing seven people.
Marine Le Pen of the National Front lashed out at fundamentalists.
Despite the failure of the French state to catch Mr. Merah before his rampage or to capture him alive, the killings have nonetheless altered the tone of the presidential campaign, which was briefly suspended, tilting it — at least for a little while — in Mr. Sarkozy’s favor.
Despite having built a reputation for toughness on crime and for polarizing comments about immigrants and Islam, Mr. Sarkozy quickly donned the calming, sober cloak of leadership, incarnating France, casting himself as the president who unites and protects, rather than the candidate who divides.