PRESIDENT Hollande has been attacked by both Left and Right over the expulsion of Kosovan teenager Leonarda Dibrani and his lack of leadership, over his offer for her to return to France to continue her schooling.
During a TV appearance, Mr Hollande spoke of the family’s expulsion and said it had been done in accordance with the law. He added that Leonarda, 15, could return, but only if she did so alone.
Leonarda later rejected his offer saying: “I will not go to France; I will not abandon my family.”
Although supported by Interior Minister Manuel Valls for his “generosity”, Mr Hollande was attacked by former prime minister François Fillon for fudging a decision and by UMP Jean-François Copé for “delivering a blow to the government’s authority” for a decision that “mocks the French and the law”.
While Parti Socialiste general secretary Harlem Désir also noted Hollande’s generosity he promptly called for Leonarda’s family also to be allowed back, but not her father.
The Communist Party attacked Mr Hollande for making Leonarda choose between France and her family.
A poll by Le Parisien found that 65% of people did not want the family to return.
An inquiry into the expulsion had said that while it was done in accordance with the law, and with the aim of reuniting Leonarda with her family, the police who had picked her up while on a school outing had not thought of the effects of their actions. Mr Valls has now issued instructions that no such similar attempt should be made again.
The report also said that Leonarda’s father, who was sent back to Kosovo the day before the rest of the family, had been arrested on various occasions and did “not want to work” in France. Leonarda and her siblings were also said to have skipped school on numerous occasions.
The family are now living in Mitrovica in Kosova where they were reported to have been assaulted in the street.
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