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France

Books stay on sale despite controversial politician's death

The mayor of the southern French town of Montpellier has refused to pull copies of her new book from the shelves after the death of her controversial predecessor, who is the subject of an unflattering portrait in her work.

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Socialist mayor Hélène Mandroux’s Maire Courage (Mayor Courage) is to be officially published Thursday but has been available in Montpellier bookshops since Monday.

Her predecessor Georges Frêche, a former mayor and chairman of the regional council who was expelled from the Socialist Party earlier this year, is to be buried Wednesday after dying from a heart attack on Sunday.

Party comrades have suggested that it would be respectful to withdraw the book, but Mandroux’s office has decided not to do so, French newspapers report.

Another book on Frêche, Gérad Laudinas’s Journal d’une curée de campagne (Diary of a country catfight) will be in the bookshops the day after its subject has been buried.

Shortly before his death Frêche hit the headlines by erecting statues to historical figures including Lenin and Mao Zedong in the city.

He was expelled from the Socialist Party in 2007 for insinuating that there were too many black players in the French football team. But the party only decided to stand against him in this year’s regional elections after he made apparently disparaging reference to party bigwig Laurent Fabius’s Jewish origins.

 

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