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New Faces in French Politics of Persian Heritage: Arash Derambarsh and Forough Salami first generation Political Rivals


By Darius KADIVAR, Paris



©photocomposition DK


President Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-right party has won a majority in parliamentary elections in France, according to early poll projections.  But his UMP party fell far short of the landslide majority it was predicted to win in the second-round vote. The opposition Socialists fared better than expected, the early results said. Voter turnout was low, at about 60%.

The UMP and allied parties would win 341-357 seats, according to polling institutions, down from 359 in the previous parliament. Socialists were braced for up to 233 seats in the 577-member National Assembly, up from 149.


Arash Derambarsh, author of book
"How can we belong to the Right Wing Today ?"


The results are seen as a minor setback for Mr Sarkozy's party, according to political observers in Paris, but the victory gives Mr Sarkozy enough room to start pushing his reforms through parliament. However for the first time in years the French National Front party of Far Right Jean Marie Le Pen  sees a real setback and absolutely no single representative in the Parliament. The interesting aspect of these elections is that French nationals of foreign heritage have for the first time been represented in political parties be  them of right wing or left wing. The government of Sarkozy also named a French national of Algerian and Morrocan heritage as
minister of Justice Rachida Dati.


Passionate debates seem however to make a comback in France's Political Arena and all communities seem to see in this context an oppurtunity for change and representation. It should be noted that the newly elected President Nicholas Sarkozy is a first generation French citizen. His parents are immigrants from Hungary and his rival Segolen Royale was also born in French Colonial African city of Dakar in Senegal. Both have made it to the top of their respective political parties and their confrontation at the  presidential elections of this year, seem to announce a generational renewal of French political life in general.



Interestingly this generational renewal has also reached out to the Persian Community that represents a socially well off constituency and particularly integrated socially in France ever since the major immigration of Iranians in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.


Iran connection: Arash( eyeglasses ), with Mansour Bahrami (tennis champ),
Mahar Monshipour (boxer), and Ghass (painter).


Two ambitious Iranians are now running for political representation but in two competing parties. Paris born 27 years old Arash Derambarsh runs for Sarkozy under the colours of center right UDF party while Isfahan native Forough Salami runs for Segolene Royale Socialist Party. She is regional consultant for the Socialist Party's representation in French Britanny and is particularly concerned by issues related to education. But it is certainly the dashing Arash Derambarsh who has been making most headlines in the French press and on Television for his charisma and bold political statements against the National Front party of Jean Marie Le Pen but also for his open debates with competing colleagues in his own Party as well as socialist rivals. Son of Iranian film director
Kioumars Derambarsh, he certainly knows how to work on his own public image and deal with the press as a medium.

Forough Salami Socialist Party Consultant in French Britanny.
© Forough Salami


The son of Iranian immigrants who arrived in France at the break of the Islamic Revolution, Mr. Derambarsh nevertheless speaks Persian and is a great fan of Iranian Cinema and literature. He studied Law at the Sorbonne and he has been working in several publishing houses, such as Ramsay and the Cherche Midi Editions that have recently published the memoires of another Iranian Compatriot, the Tennis Champ Mansour Bahrami whom he befriends as well as French Iranian Boxer Mahyar Monshipour. He has also worked at the Ministry of Interior and the French Foreign Office.


What will be the future career of these two political newcomers is still hard to say, but what is certain is that the Iranian community is well represented by two enthusiastic first generation French Iranians who have kept their ties with their community of origin.


Royal-Sarkozy represent a new generation of French politicians.
Segolene Royale was born in Dakar and Nicholas Sarkozy is of
Hungarian Heritage ©PS & UMP



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About the Author:
Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and  Columnist for OCPC Magazine in LA and Paris.



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