Hardly any minorities in new French parliament

The new French parliament following Sunday's election will have only 10 MPs from minorities in the 577-seat chamber, a number deemed inadequate by a rights group.

Deputies from minorities constitute "barely 1.8 percent overall, while blacks, Arabs and Asians represent more than 10 percent of the population" in France, the Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) said in a statement.

In France, a former colonial power that has historically drawn many immigrants, the model politician "remains a white man over 50 years old," the CRAN said.

The government of Jean-Marc Ayrault sworn in after Socialist President Francois Hollande was elected last month nevertheless has a record seven ministers from minorities in a cabinet of 34.

The new National Assembly includes 155 women, or 27 percent of MPs, a record and much higher than the 107 women elected the last time round in 2007.

A 2000 law obliges parties to put forward as many women as male candidates or pay a fine, and the CRAN called for a similar law to ensure ethnic diversity in politics.


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